With Auckland entering its eighth week of lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s newly-announced three-step plan to move down alert levels is likely to be a pressure release.
Speaking at Monday’s 4pm post-Cabinet press conference, Ardern announced a plan to reduce lockdown restrictions, which will allow people a few more freedoms in New Zealand’s largest city.
Step one of the plan comes into effect from 11.59pm on Tuesday, October 5.
Not everything is clear about what people can do, but the outlines will see people once again able to mix and see friends – albeit always outside.
To help clear some things up here is a list of some of the things Aucklanders can and can’t do under step one of the three-step plan:
How big a gathering can I have?
The rule at this point is that all gatherings must be outdoors. No more than 10 people, from a maximum of two separate households, are allowed to mingle at once.
Does that mean we can meet up with only one other household?
No, you can meet with other households, but only two households are allowed to meet at any one gathering.
Ardern also warned against mingling with other groups who might be out meeting up in the same place at the same time.
How far can I go from my house?
Aucklanders can now move freely around the city for recreation. You can travel to beaches and parks, but must remain physically distanced.
Do we have to wear masks?
Yes. Masks are non-negotiable and must be worn at gatherings – except when eating and drinking. If you remove your mask to eat and drink, then make sure you remain socially distanced, Ardern said.
Can I go fishing from a boat?
For those anglers itching to cast out from a boat, the government says yes, it’s fine to head on the water once again.
Coastguard New Zealand, however, posted a message on its Facebook page that the organisation was seeking clarification on what that meant. So before you head out, you’ll want to double-check the rules.
Can I pet strange dogs?
Sadly, for both pat-starved canines and the strangers who want to pat them, the rules say it’s best avoided under alert level three.
What about exercise groups?
While speaking about being able to move around the community to take part in different recreational activities, Ardern seemed to give group exercise classes the green light.
“You’ll be able to visit the beach, play bowls, sail, hunt, do outdoor cross-fit or yoga classes,” Ardern said.
“All must continue to comply with the rule of being outside and keeping it to 10 people, physically distanced.”
Can my kids see their friends outside their bubbles?
Children can once again go on play dates, but as with all other activities, the meet-ups must be outdoors and have no more than two households mixing at once.
Changing alert levels
There is no fixed timeline on when Auckland will move to the second step of the three-phase plan, but for now people will be able to head out and see each other once again, Ardern said.
“You can slowly see people you have missed over these past seven weeks, one household at a time.”
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