Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals COVID-19 alert level 1 rules

coronavirus 03/06/2020

The Prime Minister has confirmed that all of the current restrictions on business will be "essentially lifted" and there will be no more need for physical distancing in workplaces, when New Zealand shifts to alert level 1.

Cabinet will decide next Monday, June 8, if the time is right for New Zealand to shift to alert level 1, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday it will depend on the continued lack of new coronavirus cases. 

The Prime Minister said it is still too early to move to level 1 because gatherings were only increased to up to 100 people on Friday, and there is still a risk of a breakout happening as a result of the loosening of those restrictions. 

All the rules for hospitality such as single service, separated tables and people being separated all ends at level 1, and there will be no requirement for physical distancing in workplaces and in public places. 

But Ardern said the Government is working with ticketing agencies and large-scale event organisers on a 'COVID code' whereby contact details are collected to keep track of people in the event attendees need to be followed up with. 

"Our churches will be able to return to full service, all sports and concert stadiums and be sold out, and we can celebrate and mourn with one another in groups of any size," Ardern said.

"Community sport can start without size and distancing restrictions, and all physical distancing on trains and public transport will no longer need to be in place."

The Prime Minister said while the current restrictions will end at level 1, New Zealanders "do need new behaviours to start", particularly with the risk of a future breakout.

"It does not mean our battle with the virus is over. COVID is still in the world with over 100,000 cases being reported daily, including in most of the countries we have close connections with," Ardern said. 

"So, at level 1 we all need to adopt new behaviours in order to keep any future cases of COVID under control, particularly public health measures like hand hygiene, to reduce the risk of transmission when new cases pop up, and enhance contact tracing.

"We also - and this is key - need to maintain strict border measures. Let me be clear: the only reason we are in the enviable position of even being able to consider a move to alert level 1 is because of our strict border controls." 

The PM wants Kiwis to follow these guidelines:

  1. If you are sick stay home
  2. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, get a COVID-19 test
  3. Regularly wash your hands
  4. Sneeze and cough into your elbow
  5. If you're told by health authorities to self-isolate, do it
  6. Work with your GP if you heave underlying health issues and are at higher risk
  7. Keep track of where you have been to help contact tracers
  8. Businesses should help Kiwis with contact tracing by displaying QR codes
  9. Be prepared for a move up alert levels if we need to
  10. Be kind to others

Watch the livestream above.