All large gatherings, with exception of schools, to be cancelled due to coronavirus - PM

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Large gatherings are set to be restricted by Government, the Prime Minister announcement today. 

"Today, Cabinet agreed gatherings of 500 or more people held outdoors or indoors, should be cancelled."

Jacinda Ardern said this included all non-essential events such as festivals, fairs, sporting games and religious and cultural events. 

"I know this decision is hugely disappointing... but we are making this decision in the best interests of New Zealanders."

She said the move would capture the "bulk" of events in the next few weeks. More guidance will be announced later this week for other events. 

There are 107 upcoming events with more than 1000 expected attendees that will be impacted by the announcement.

"There are hard calls we’re having to make for the long term and in the best interest for everyone."

Ms Ardern said schools and universities were excluded, but the Ministry of Education would be looking at how to reduce gatherings. 

Ms Ardern also said preliminary advice from the Treasury was that the economic impact of coronavirus could be greater than the impact of the Great Financial Crisis. 

Events around the country have already been cancelled or postponed due to the virus, including the March 15 terrorist attack service, the Pasifika Festival, and numerous sporting games and concerts. 

On Saturday, the Government placed a two-week self-isolation rule on every traveller entering New Zealand, apart from the Pacific Islands.