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Masks remain mandatory on public transport around the country in Level 1 — Jacinda Ardern

People around the country will continue to be required to wear face masks on public transport, as most of New Zealand moves to Alert Level 1 from tonight.

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The Prime Minister says the rule is being extended as most of the country moves to Level 1. Source: 1 NEWS

Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed Auckland will leave lockdown and move to Level 2 from 11.59pm today, while the rest of the country moves from Level 2 to Level 1.

But there's a slight change in the rules.

Until now, only Aucklanders have been required to wear face masks on public transport at all alert levels.

Ardern says that's now the case for the rest of the country, following the Level 2 rules that've been in place since Sunday.

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"As part of the order that's been prepared, we will be asking the rest of the country to keep up the mask use on public transport," she says.

"That is an additional element [to the existing alert level regulations]."

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister's office confirmed to 1 NEWS it's a formal requirement, extending the Level 2 mask-wearing rules for all of New Zealand at Level 1.

"It isn’t permanent at this time. It will be reviewed by Cabinet at Monday," the spokesperson says.

As in Auckland, drivers of taxi ride-sharing services such as Uber will also have to wear face masks in the revised Level 1. 

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Ardern suggested the extension to the mask mandate may be temporary until the country's alert levels are reconsidered on Monday, before a formal Cabinet meeting is able to assess a permanent change.

A spokesperson for both her office and the Ministry of Health confirmed that's the case.

More information about the change in mask rules is hoped to be released tonight by the Ministry of Transport, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Face masks aren't required for children under 12 years old. People with a medical condition preventing them from wearing face coverings are also exempt.

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