A few minutes ago (10:14 PM) my phone sounded the national emergency alert tone. Not good news, especially as it comes one day after my celebratory post of this nation passing 100 days of being COVID-19 free.
The alert advised that as from midday tomorrow (Wednesday) the entire nation moves from our current Level 1 (no restrictions within our borders) to Level 2. All of the nation, that is except Auckland, which moves to Level 3. A household in the city of Auckland has been found to have four cases of COVID-19 with no known source of infection.
- Auckland is going into Alert Level 3
- Level 3 will last for 3 days, everyone is encouraged to stay home
- The rest of NZ will go into Alert Level 2
For most of New Zealand it means:
- We can continue to go to work and school, with physical distancing.
- Wear masks in public if possible.
- No more than 100 people at gatherings
- Businesses can open to the public if they follow public health guidance, which includes physical distancing and record keeping.
- People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.
- Practice good hygiene – stay home if sick.
I feel sorry for Aucklanders who face greater restrictions:
- The are encouraged work from home
- Non residents are encouraged to return to their home town
- Businesses can stay open but should not physically interact with customers
- Bars and restaurants should close, but takeaways are allowed to remain open
- Students are encouraged to learn from home, although limited capacity will still be available at schools
- Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres when outside the home, including on public transport
- It is highly recommended (but not mandatory) that a mask is worn when outside the home
- Public venues including libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets should close
- Gatherings of up to ten people are permitted for weddings, funerals and tangihanga provided social distancing is maintained. Other gatherings are prohibited
- People at high risk of severe illness are encouraged to stay at home where possible
As I mentioned in my previous post, this was something we knew would happen sooner or later. But most of us were expecting it to be later – much later.