We’re into our fourth week of lockdown in COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
The government has made it clearer what Alert Level 3 will look like after the current Level 4 lockdown ends. Unlike many parts of the world where lockdown has not been as as wide ranging as here in Aotearoa New Zealand, our “bubbles” have been restricted to single households. All businesses have been closed except for essential services – supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies and petrol stations. Even online business has been prohibited unless it fell into one of the essential services and it had an online presence before the lockdown commenced.
This has resulted in off shore businesses targeting NZ consumers as they have been able to sell into NZ whereas local businesses cannot. This is particularly true of mail order businesses based in Australia and multinationals such as Amazon. Hardly what one could describe as an even playing field.
When we go to Level 3 (whenever that may be – it won’t be announced until next week at the earliest), some relief for NZ businesses won’t come soon enough, but still many will remain closed. So this is how Level 3 will play out:
- Workers must work from home if they can
- Workplaces must operate safely – keeping one metre between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards
- Retail and hospitality businesses can only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick up – customers cannot enter stores
- Supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations can continue to allow customers into their stores, with the same restrictions and measures in place as Alert Level 4
- Businesses cannot offer services which involve face-to-face contact or sustained close contact (e.g. hairdressing, massage, house cleaning, or door-to-door salespeople)
- Other in home services can be delivered if it is safe to do so (like tradespeople for repairs or installations) – keep two metre separation from those in the house
- People must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family / whanau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. Bubbles must still be exclusive: Bubbles cannot overlap
- If you were in the wrong place when the restrictions came into place, and need to get home, you can now move throughout New Zealand to do so. You can only move once, and in one direction. New Zealanders can move to or from the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau once, and in one direction.
- The most important principle here is to stay safe (so that you do not need rescuing or medical care), and to stay physically distant from people outside of your bubble.
- You can do activities that are local, which you can do safely, and which do not involve interacting with other people, or equipment touched by other people. You should go to your nearest beach or park, not your favourite one. Staying overnight at a bach or holiday home is not permitted.
- If you are an experienced surfer, you can go to your local break. If you’re not experienced, don’t surf.
- If you want to go fishing you can do so from a wharf or the shore, but don’t cast off the rocks or fish from a boat (boating is not allowed).
- Tramping is ok for day walks on easy trails, same for mountain biking if you are experienced and know the trail (whereas the rest of the world hikes, Kiwis tramp)
- Do not use any common equipment touched by people from outside your bubble.
- Hunting, boating, yachting and any team sports or training are not allowed.
Up to 10 people can gather for:
- Funerals and tangihanga
- Wedding ceremonies (not receptions).
Full details can be found on the government’s COVID-19 Website.
For the wife and myself
Personally, it will allow the wife and I to visit the nearby forest park and stroll the boardwalk loop. It will also allow us to resume online purchases for products other than food and pharmaceuticals. We had made a decision not to make offshore purchases so that our impact on local business would cause as little harm as possible.
Apart from that, it will make very little difference from our current situation in Level 4 lockdown. Our children and grandchildren will still be off limits – they’re in different towns. For all practical purposes the CBD will remain closed, although we will be able to order the occasional Hell pizza for home delivery.
From what I have read regarding COVID-19 lockdowns in other jurisdictions, our Level 3 will still still be more restrictive than the high level lockdowns in many countries around the globe. The goal here is to eradicate the virus, not merely flattening the curve. Still looks like the best option for this nation until a vaccine becomes available.