Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: New Zealand to lower COVID-19 alert to Level 2 from 2359 May 13. Most businesses to resume. Entry ban, quarantine measures in effect.

This alert affects New Zealand

This alert began 12 May 2020 05:53 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, quarantine requirements, business and transport disruptions

New Zealand will lower its alert for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to Level 2, the second-lowest level, from 2359 May 13 amid reduced COVID-19 activity in the country. Leaders have not specified if or when they will further lower the COVID-19 level, but authorities are reviewing the level every two weeks. An ongoing state of emergency, which allows the government to ban gatherings, take over facilities, requisition equipment, and supplies, and close roads, among other measures, remains in effect through at least May 13. The declaration requires renewal every seven days, and additional extensions are possible.

Under Level 2, officials will allow groups of up to 10 people, regardless of venue; the limit applies to public gatherings and home visits, religious and cultural services, and weddings and funerals. Authorities are also not requiring residents to wear masks. The government will reopen all public venues and lands, including museums, markets, playgrounds, and public pools. Sporting events may also occur if they adhere to group number limits. Professional sports are also set to resume, though with limited spectators. Authorities are advising residents to maintain 2 meters (6.5 feet) of distance in public areas and 1 meter (3 feet) of space in areas - such as workplaces and retail outlets - where physical distancing is more difficult. Educational institutions will reopen across the country May 18.

Almost businesses can reopen in the country, provided they follow regulations on physical distancing and hygiene. However, officials are still encouraging companies to allow work from home, stagger shifts, and refrain from communal activity within workplaces. Restaurants will also reopen, though parties are limited to 10 people and can only be in contact with one server. Officials are limiting capacity at 100 people per venue, regardless of size. Bars remain closed nationwide until May 21; authorities will allow establishments to reopen if they seat all customers and adhere to other measures in place for restaurants. Workers at some services that require close contact with patrons - such as salons and barbershops - must wear personal protective equipment. The government is requiring all companies to collect contact information from patrons.

Public transport has mostly resumed, but riders need to abide by social distancing recommendations and avoid peak-hour travel. Some local governments are requiring or suggesting passengers wear masks on public transport. Residents can also travel throughout the country, though officials continue to warn against nonessential journeys. Air New Zealand (NZ) will expand domestic operations to include most airports, though the airline will operate only 20 percent of its usual flight schedule.

Travel Restrictions

New Zealand continues to ban all foreign nationals from entering the country. The measure includes citizens of Pacific nations; however, exceptions will continue for citizens from the region and other foreign nationals for humanitarian reasons. Resident Australian citizens, permanent residents, and resident visa holders with valid travel conditions, as well as their immediate family members, are exempt from entry restrictions. Staff are conducting health screenings of all incoming passengers. Officials continue to quarantine inbound passengers at government-designated facilities for 14 days.

Postpone travel to New Zealand if affected by restrictions. Confirm flight status if allowed entry into the country. Follow all official instructions and allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Plan to undergo quarantine if entering the country. Limit domestic trips to government-approved travel; be prepared to explain reasons for travel to authorities.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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