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In a media release today, the Ministry of Health says that public transport distancing requirements will be ‘relaxed’. The physical distancing requirements on transport for the public has been reviewed by the MOH (Ministry of Health) to act and see whether they are still required at lockdown Alert Level 2.
The review, for face-coverings, means that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking their movements that involve physical distancing requirements can now be relaxed.
The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the rest of the county will remain at Alert Level 2 (2.5 for Auckland), extending the COVID-19 alert levels for New Zealand.
“With the use of face coverings, our updated advice is that physical distancing should be maintained where possible; however it is not required on either domestic flights or on public transport such as trains, buses and ferries.”
With the updated reports, passengers on public transport are making use of face coverings and are taking it as seriously as possible, and maintained mask use where possible.
The advisory by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport for recommended seating arrangements on public transport that promoted physical distancing has now been revoked and is effective immediately.
“People should continue to observe physical distancing where possible.”
Flight and transport operators that require pre-bookings has been advised of the changes, and they can now accept higher volumes of bookings from customers.
Cabinet has agreed. Including PM Jacinda Ardern, in good faith, that at 11.59 pm on Monday, September 21, the rest of New Zealand will be moving to Alert Level 1 settings.
“If you are travelling, to work, school or on holiday, please remember to practise the core hygiene measures – disinfect hands, cough into your elbow and, most importantly, if you are unwell, please stay home.”
“As I said we haven’t had many days without new cases appearing in Auckland and it only requires one person travelling and attending a super-spreader event somewhere else in the country and we could be looking at further restrictions everywhere. So the level 2 precautions we have in place continue to act as a safety barrier for flair-ups in the rest of New Zealand.”
“As a result of the extra measures we have in place at Level 2 in Auckland, and in particular the good uptake of our requirement that people wear a mask on public transport, today I can confirm that we will ease physical distancing requirements on planes and public transport.”
From Monday, September 14, which is an immediate in-place response; public transport, including airlines like Air New Zealand etc., buses and trains do not need to maintain any sitting restrictions or passenger capacity limits at Alert Level 2.
However, Mask use will be continuing as compulsory on public transport.
“I know this change will make a real difference to Air New Zealand and those parts of the country seeking increased numbers of visitors, and the change made demonstrates the willingness on the Government’s behalf to constantly review our settings, with everyone’s health at the top of our minds.”
“Our plan is working, but it needs just a little more time. Like last time when we moved from level 2 to level 1 with caution, we experienced a strong bounce back in economic activity which is what we are seeking again. Protecting our current gains, expanding on them and keeping people safe from the virus remains the best long term strategy for the country.”
“The guidelines everyone has followed have kept us safe, saved lives, and helped us get the economy moving quicker than most other countries around the world – we played the short game well because we had our eye on the future.”
Image courtesy: dreamstime.com
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