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NZ prepares for first long weekend since lockdown as Covid-19 restrictions ease

This weekend marks the first holiday weekend in Covid-19 Level 2, with Kiwis able to travel around the country for Queen’s Birthday. 

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Domestic travellers are being urged to get out and about this weekend to help the ailing tourism industry.

With Covid-19 restrictions easing, it won't just be an increase of traffic on the roads either. 

Auckland Airport says thousands will be travelling by air, with nearly 400 flights operating to and from Auckland Airport over the long weekend.

Though the numbers aren't as high as what would usually be seen over Queen's Birthday weekend, Anna Cassels-Brown of Auckland Airport says it's encouraging. 

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Queens Birthday weekend comes with New Zealand now only having one active Covid-19 case. Source: 1 NEWS

“We’re ready to welcome thousands of New Zealanders to our domestic terminal who will be reuniting with whānau and friends around the country," says Ms Cassels-Brown.

“While the numbers are still nowhere near what we’d normally see over Queen's Birthday weekend, it’s a big increase in Kiwis travelling around New Zealand under Alert Level 2. That’s an encouraging sign that people are confident and ready to fly within New Zealand for business, recreation and to reconnect with friends and family.”

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Excitement in Queenstown as tourist hotspot prepares for busy Queen's Birthday weekend

New Zealand’s busiest airport typically caters for 1800 flights for a Queen’s Birthday long weekend, made up of around 1200 domestic and 600 international flights.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, this Queen’s Birthday long weekend will be very different with 80 per cent less flights overall - 70 per cent fewer domestic flights and 95 per cent fewer international flights.

Ms Cassels-Brown says the wellbeing of travellers is a main priority.

“Travellers during Alert Level 2 have been very careful and respectful of physical distancing requirements, by following our brightly-coloured markings and signage to maintain good spacing - especially inside the terminals." 

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But other restrictions to gatherings still apply as New Zealand remains in Alert Level 2. Source: 1 NEWS

Police have also issued a message ahead of the long weekend, asking Kiwis to stay safe on the roads. 

“If you are heading out on the roads please remember the basics of road safety," said Assistant Commissioner Lauano Sue Schwalger. 

"Wear your seatbelt, stay within the speed limit and drive to the conditions, put your phone away, always make sure you are sober and alert and share the driving if you can." 

Over the holiday weekend police have said officers will continue to be highly visible in communities and on the roads across the country.