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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Auckland will shift to ‘alert level 2.5’ (in theory level 2) from midnight on Sunday 30 August while the rest of New Zealand still remains at Alert Level 2.
The Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is glad to move to alert level two.
“After more than a fortnight at Alert Level 3 Aucklanders will be able to move around the city more freely once we enter Alert Level 2 on Monday,” he says.
“Health authorities now agree that it is safe to move to Alert Level 2, but we still need to ensure that we follow all of the safeguards necessary to constrain the spread of COVID-19. Following these rules will help ensure we beat COVID-19 again.”
The Government is also advising that the basic rule for Alert Level 2 for Auckland is to ‘play it safe.’
Keep surfaces clean, wash your hands and maintain safe physical distancing where possible. If you can’t maintain physical distance from people you don’t know, you could consider wearing a face covering.
There will still be restrictions on funerals and tangihanga, they may have up to 50 people, and have to meet other conditions set by the Ministry of Health.
No more than 10 people at gatherings, including family events, religious services, community sport or private functions like weddings, birthdays or stag do.
Visits to public and event venues are not social gatherings. This means public and event venues can have up to 100 customers within any defined space. This includes restaurants and cafes, swimming pools and gyms, libraries and museums, cinemas, theatres, stadiums, cencert venues, conference venues and casinos. It is advised to keep a 1 meter physical distance from people you don’t know while at public events.
You shouldn’t participate in any gatherings if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation for any reason.
If you feel sick, stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Government suggests that you do not go to work, school or travel feeling sick. If you have been showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should not be using public transportation.
From Monday, 31 August, Masks will be mandatory on all public transport for anyone 12 years and over during Level 2 restrictions.
School bus transportation will operate again during Alert Level 2. Face Masks, and physical distancing are not required on school transport services, and there are practically no capacity restrictions due to the records of all students being held, that use them.
Buses are being cleaned and sanitised after each school run as per Government guidance.
Public transport will continue to operate for the public with stringent health and safety conditions in place.
Drivers can ask and remind customers to wear a face-covering while on public transport, as per Government advice, they are not responsible for enforcing the new regulation as any customer could have legitimate exemptions preventing them from wearing a Mask.
There will be information sheets and posters on board buses and trains to inform customers of physical distancing requirements and where they should remain or sit.
QR codes will be presented on public transport. It is recommended to download the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer app, to be ready to scan during boarding.
“Follow the physical distancing guidelines which will be on display on buses, trains and ferries and remember to maintain 2-metre physical distancing from people who aren’t from your bubble,” said Auckland Transport.
Passenger space on buses, trains and ferries will be lower than usual. This is because of the necessity to maintain physical distancing onboard public transport.
Public transport services and programs will move to normal levels while at Alert Level 2 so anyone can travel to where they need to go, but for after-midnight services, they will not run on Friday and Saturday nights.
All trains will be running at a 20-minute rotation, as KiwiRail carries out track maintenance to the Auckland rail system.
Closure of the eastern line for trains (Britomart to Otahuhu), will replace trains for buses for the next two weeks.
Paid parking will resume for both on and off-street parking under Alert Level 2. Parking limitations, bus lanes and other special vehicle lanes will also return for enforcement.
If you are going to be walking and cycling for essential trips or exercise around the city, make sure you continue to maintain a two-metre distance from other people you don’t know that is not from your bubble. It is highly suggested that people do wear face Masks when out in public to help minimalise the spread of COVID-19, however it is not mandatory outside in public spaces.
Crossing signals across the Auckland region and city centre will be returning to regular operation at Alert Level 2.
Image courtesy: Hagen Hopkins/Getty
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