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'Two weeks too long' - Auckland Chamber of Commerce boss calls for shift to Alert Level 1

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce boss is calling for an end to Alert Level 2 restrictions, saying the country has enough systems in place to keep people safe from Covid-19 in Alert Level 1.

Michael Barnett of the Auckland Business Chamber. Source: 1 NEWS

CEO Michael Barnett said the Chamber’s latest survey of small and medium-sized businesses showed their “frustration” over the extension of Level 2 restrictions, which was “stymying their recovery”.

“The country needs Auckland to be open and to stay open regardless of yo-yoing alert levels,” he said.

“This is two weeks too long when we have the systems, processes and capability to comply with all safeguards to contain and stamp out flare-ups.

“I would urge the Government to bring forward the move to Level 1 for Auckland to put us back on par with the rest of the country and give momentum to regional and national economic revival.”

Barnett said the Chamber’s latest survey showed only 63 per cent of sole traders and small businesses were operating at 75 per cent of capacity or more under Alert Level 2.

However, that number increased to 82 per cent under Alert Level 1, he said.

“Business needs some certainty and can be trusted to do what is right and proper to protect health and livelihoods.”

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No cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today

The Government announced yesterday Auckland would be moving from Level 2.5, to Level 2 at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Auckland's alert level status will then be reviewed on October 5, and the region could be joining the rest of New Zealand at Level 1 from October 7 if all goes to plan.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield today ruled out "Level 1.5" for Auckland.

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The Director-General of health says "at this point we're done with the .5s". Source: 1 NEWS

"I think the aim is to, all going well over this next couple weeks, to bring Auckland down to Alert Level 1 along with the rest of the country," he said.