New Zealand’s Covid restrictions ease except for Auckland

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set New Zealand's traffic light system to red.

New Zealand has eased Covid restrictions for every region except Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that all of New Zealand outside of Auckland will move to level 2 while Auckland will stay at level 4 until at least next Tuesday..

Face masks and two square metre restrictions will apply inside hospitality and event venues which will now have a limit of 50 people indoors and 100 people in outdoor spaces.

“We are making progress but there are some critical challenges ahead. We continue to see persistent cases connected to the outbreak,” Ardern said.

“We have learned the hard way that Delta travels through the air.

“Level 4 restrictions are working but the job is not done. We are within sight of elimination but we cannot drop the ball.”

Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) said additional support was crucial for the business events industry.

“While Auckland is in Alert Level 4 or at Level 3, operating a business event on any scale is significantly more challenging for all regions,” said BEIA chief executive Lisa Hopkins.

“It is now time for the Government to look at business events specifically, and not just as a sector that may receive benefit from other support programmes put in place for regional tourism organisations, major events or tourism.

“Our ask is that the Government continues with the Resurgence Subsidy Programme, not as a one-off, but as on-going support.

“This period, prior to Christmas, is considered to be our busiest time of the year. The worst possible scenario is that the sector and the vast number of businesses who support it are unable to generate any income until February 2022 at the earliest.

“These are businesses who have not only shown remarkable resilience, but also sustainable business practices to overcome the Covid rollercoaster. They should be celebrated and supported for how they have sustained New Zealand and other sectors during this time.”

Hopkins also called for greater clarity on “the future intent”.

“We are looking for measures and other key indicators so that we can understand when we may be able to get back to Alert Level 1,” she said.

“Given the industry’s contribution to hospitality and tourism, it is imperative for these sectors to also have insight into how this sector will be able to provide support in the future.”