New Zealand will begin a staggered move to Covid-19 Alert Level 2 on Thursday, the Prime Minister announced today.
Level 2 timeline:
- Thursday May 14: Level 2 partially begins, retail opens
- Monday May 18: Schools, tertiary institutions and ECEs can open
- Thursday May 21: Bars can open.
Jacinda Ardern said Cabinet agreed New Zealand was ready to move into Level 2 in order "to open up the economy but to do it as safely as possible".
On Thursday May 14, retail, malls, cafes and restaurants, cinemas and other public places such as playgrounds and gyms can open.
"You can begin to move around New Zealand," Ms Ardern said.
Schools will be able to open on Monday, May 17. On Thursday May 21, bars will be able to open.
Gatherings will be limited to 10 people - instead of the 100 limit that was originally announced as the Level 2 rules. This will be reviewed in two weeks.
"Don't let your gatherings go over 10," Ms Ardern said.
Ms Ardern acknowledged the sacrifices the country had made over the last six-and-a-half weeks over the lockdown period.
"But for all of that, Kiwis of all walks of life were resolute and determined, determined that this was a war we could eventually win but only if we acted together."
"You created a wall that meant the virus couldn't reach those people it could easily take."
She said Covid-19 cases had remained low as did the infection number of those with Covid-19.
"If you get a sniffle or a sore throat, get a test quickly."
"Please don't be a stoic Kiwi."
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said Level 2 from Thursday allowed a "far greater personal freedoms than under previous Alert Level settings".
Ms Ardern said New Zealand "has not won the war" against Covid-19 yet.
Today, three new confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported by the Ministry of Health.
Today is just under two weeks since the country moved from Alert Level 4 to 3.
The country spent more than a month under strict Level 4 lockdown conditions.