Aucklanders with exemptions can attend funerals of family outside city under Level 3

Source: 1News

After nearly five weeks without being able to leave the city to attend funerals of loved ones, some Aucklanders will soon be able leave the city's boundary under Alert Level 3 to do so, should they gain an exemption. 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced newly relaxed restrictions ahead of the city dropping alert levels from 11.59pm on Tuesday. 

While travel between alert levels remains largely limited for most Kiwis, special exemptions have been put in place for grieving families so they can say goodbye to loved ones. 

"One area that we will be allowing one-off journeys for is people to attend funerals or attend to and visit a dying relative or accompany a deceased person," said Bloomfield. 

"I know that not being able to do these farewells has been one of the toughest and most distressing aspects of Alert Level 4." 

The Ministry of Health has outlined a strict requirement that applicants must adhere to in order to qualify for a border exemption. 

In order to qualify, the exemption must be relating to a "first-degree" relative such as a parent, sibling, child, partner or other close family member. 

The person must return a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours before crossing the border. 

They will also be required to present evidence alongside their application, such as supporting documents from a funeral director, hospice and/or health professional.

Services are still restricted by limited numbers at gatherings and must be immediate family only. 

People will be required to follow strict safety protocols such as to socially distance and wear a face covering. 

Earlier in the outbreak, Government relaxed its strict no-viewing policy under Alert Level 4 which meant families couldn't view their loved one's body before cremation or burial in funeral homes. 

Under those changes, families are now allowed to view the body but cannot touch their loved one, must be from the same bubble and must wear masks.