Leaving lockdown: Rules clarified so Kiwis can resume normal life 'as soon as possible'

Source: 1News

The laws around activities and travel under Alert Level 4 have been clarified with The Ministry of Health and Police Ministry releasing a joint statement on the rules.

The Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield issued a Health Notice yesterday that provides additional guidance on the rules around the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 "to ensure its success and help move the country out of lockdown as soon as possible".

In a statement this evening, a police spokesperson says current Ministry of Justice directives have not changed. 

The rules now make clear that all water-based activities, including swimming, surfing and boating are officially banned. 

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said he welcomes the guidance and said police’s primary goal is to ensure people understand the importance of staying home.

“The vast majority of New Zealanders have a high level of awareness of what they can and can’t do under the Alert Level 4 restrictions, and by and large people are doing a tremendous job,” he said.

“We want people to stay safe, but if a small number of people persist in deliberately flouting the restrictions, Police will have the discretion to warn or, if necessary, to arrest.

“The Health Notice makes it clear what types of outdoor exercise and recreation people shouldn’t do.

"Outside of that, we are asking people to stay local, apply common sense and not do anything that could risk exposure to injury or require search and rescue services.

Dr Bloomfield said the guidance also provides additional clarity around bubbles.

“Specifically, if you live alone and have already established a bubble with another household this can be maintained so long as both households have no contact with others – that they stay in their joint bubble,” Dr Bloomfield said.

“No one is immune to the virus - we are seeing high rates of people aged 20-29 with the virus. These people may not die of it, but if they are not following the rules they can pass it on to others.

“By clarifying the rules we are also reinforcing the ability of police to enforce them," Dr Bloomfield said. 

The Notice sets out:

• Everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement.
• Exercise is to be done in an outdoor place that can be readily accessed from home and two-metre physical distancing must be maintained.
• Recreation and exercise does not involve swimming, water-based activities (for example, surfing or boating), hunting, tramping, or other activities of a kind that expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services.
• A child can leave the residence of one joint care-giver to visit or stay at the residence of another joint care-giver (and visit or stay at that residence) if there is a shared bubble arrangement.
• A person can leave their residence to visit or stay at another residence (and visit or stay at that residence) under a shared bubble arrangement if:
- One person lives alone in one, or both, of those residences; or
- Everyone in one of those residences is a vulnerable person.

In the first week of being at Alert Level 4 we have seen high rates of compliance,” Dr Bloomfield said.

“The best way to ensure the success of the lockdown is for everyone to play their part."