Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand will shift into COVID-19 alert level 2 on Thursday, May 14, but bars will have to wait an extra week.
On Thursday, cinemas, retail stores, playgrounds, gyms and shopping malls can reopen as long as physical distancing and strict hygiene measures are practised.
But schools will not open until Monday, while bars only serving alcohol will only be allowed to open on Thursday, May 21, and they will only be able to invite customers in to be seated so that contact tracing can be done if needed.
The Prime Minister expained that restaurants will be able to open on Thursday, but it's venues "with the primary purpose" of providing alcohol to consume - such as nighclubs - that will have to wait an extra week.
Jacinda Ardern said bars are the most risky businesses with regard to COVID-19. She highlighted how in South Korea bars were allowed to open, but had to close them straight away following an outbreak.
Ardern also called for gatherings to be kept small. She said bars, when they open, will not be able to take group bookings for groups larger than 10 people.
Alert level 2 reminder:
- businesses can restart for staff and customers
- 'bubbles' can cease
- domestic travel recommences
- schools and early learning centres can open
- gatherings both indoors and outdoors are limited to 100 people
- public places reopen
- sport and recreation comes back, including professional sports competitions
- home gatherings must be kept small
- hospitality must follow the three S's: seated, separated, single-server