'You still primarily stay home. Stay home, save lives' - PM releases details of Alert Level 3 conditions

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

The Prime Minister has given details of what Alert Level 3 will look like, as the country nears the end of the current minimum lockdown period for Level 4.

"Overall we have made a good start, but we need to keep going," Jacinda Ardern said today. 

"At Level 3 we cautiously start opening up our economy," she said, giving a picture of life will look like when the decision is taken to move levels. "So when it comes time to move, we will be ready to move."

Cabinet is due to decide on Monday whether Level 4 will end next Wednesday night as scheduled.

What does Level 3 look like?

Bubble expansion

"You can expand your bubble a small amount," Ms Ardern said, giving the examples of a caregiver, children in shared care, a de facto partner who is caring for others, "or you’re a single person who wants the company of a sibling for example". 

"The goal remains to restrict contact with one another as much as possible," Ms Ardern said, describing it as the "waiting or recovery room" to assess Covid-19 before moving to Level 2. 

"We have to wait and see if what we have done has worked. You still primarily stay home. Stay home, save lives."

"You can expand your bubble a small amount. Keep it exclusive though, keep it small."

The Covid-19 website also includes the examples of if you are living alone, or a couple who wants the company of another one or two people. 

"These people do not need to live in the same household, but must be local," it says. 

Returning to work

"People must work from home if they can," Ms Ardern said. "Where that is not possible businesses may re-open but must comply with health and safety requirements around physical distancing and contactless engagement with customers.

"Businesses only accessed by the staff, and without a customer facing function, such as building and construction or forestry can open under strict health and safety and physical distancing rules."

What can operate 

Public facing bars, cafes and restaurants will remain closed unless they have click and collect or delivery options. 

Food delivery, drive through, online shopping, click and collect shopping can begin. 

"Contactless is key. You cannot have face to face interactions with customers," Ms Ardern said. 

"For many that will mean they will have online deliveries, using things like Uber, or they may have, if they’re a retailer, click and collect."

When asked if that included takeaway coffee from cafes, Ms Ardern said there were some cafes who already have click and collect options.

"For any retailers out there, use an app, use online, use the phone, use the car but it cannot be face to face."

Partial reopening of education

Early childhood centres and schools will be available up to Year 10. Attendance will be voluntary.

Funerals and weddings can go ahead but limited to 10 people. 

"But they can only be services. No meals, food or receptions can take place."

Travel restrictions move from local to regional

"At Level 3, we ask that you keep it regional," Ms Ardern said. “We don’t want to take potential Covid cases to other parts of the country."

She said this was to allow for work travel and for children to attend school. 

“Keep it non-motorised,” she said, referring to boating and jet skiing. 

“You can swim, you can fish from the shore. Now is not the time to take up a new activity you’ve never done before, it’s too risky.”

The Government released a detailed list of what was allowed at each level. 

Ms Ardern said that at Level 3, "there are slightly more opportunities for you to come into contact with people outside your bubble".

"As a general rule of thumb, the goal of keeping two metres away from each other still applies. Under lockdown we have shown our ability to put in place a virtual wall that has broken the chain of transmission.

"Our new line of defence when we reach Level 3 is common sense, following the rules and trust in one another."

She said that before lockdown, New Zealand was in a position to "allow a wave of devastation to hit us, or take decisive action".

"We chose action. The projection was thousand of deaths if the virus got away from us."

For Level 2, it included physical distancing of one metre outside the home, gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors allowed while maintaining physical distancing and contact tracing requirements and sport is allowed if conditions on gatherings are met, physical distancing is followed and travel is local.

Most businesses can open, schools and early childhood centres open, but people at high risk encouraged to stay home. 

Today, 15 new cases of Covid-19 were reported today by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. There are still 16 significant clusters, he said. 

Last week, Ms Ardern responded to rumours of the Government extending the four-week coronavirus lockdown, reiterating no decision had been made yet.

New Zealand's four-week lockdown is due to end at 11.59pm next Wednesday but there is the potential for the Government to either extend it or drop to Level 3 - a decision the Prime Minister has emphasised would not be announced until next Monday. 

The Prime Minister announced on March 23 that the country would be entering Alert Level 4 lockdown two days later, at midnight of Wednesday, March 25 - for a minimum of four weeks.

"The situation here is moving at pace and so must we," she said of Covid-19 spread. "Prepare as a nation to go into self-isolation."

Level 4 is put in place with a risk of sustained level of virus transmission. Contact between people is largely eliminated, the public urged to stay at home. Essential services will remain in place.

The country was placed into a State of Emergency.