New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced today that the country will move to Level 2 restrictions this week, triggering the return of shopping, eating out, weddings, domestic travel, schools, sport, and seeing friends.
In a live broadcast to the nation, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would move to level 2 in three separate stages over the next 10 days.
Starting from Thursday 14 May, restaurants, malls, cinemas, shops and hairdressers will all re-open and people will also be able to socialise with others again as well as play team sports.
Schools and child care centres will reopen from Monday, May 18 with bars set to reopen their doors and start pouring drinks again from Thursday, May 21. That sounds like a big night right there.
Aside from the obvious social and economic benefits of kick-starting New Zealand once more, importantly, for the travel and tourism industry – travel around the country will be allowed again from this Thursday 14 May.
Air New Zealand had already released initial details of its domestic schedule on Friday for when the nation enters level 2, with plans to operate the majority of its domestic ports from 18 May.
However, Air New Zealand says it will still be operating at only 20% of its pre-COVID-19 schedule says chief executive Greg Foran.
Mr Foran also says that new distancing rules onboard during Level 2 will mean that Air New Zealand will not be able to offer the cheapest fare levels.
“One-metre social distancing means we can only sell just under 50 percent of seats on a turboprop aircraft and just 65 percent on an A320. On that basis, to ensure we cover our operating costs we won’t be able to offer our lowest lead-in fares until social distancing measures are removed.”
Greg Foran, Air New Zealand chief executive
The news also means that New Zealand’s ski resorts will be able to forge ahead with plans to begin their ski seasons in early June.
New Zealand has been in a lockdown of varying stages since 24 March, with over a month of full level 4 lockdown now completed.
To date, there have been a total of 1,147 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Zealand according to the Ministry of Health which have taken the lives of 21 people.
Today’s news will undoubtedly be the tonic New Zealand tourism urgently needed to hear to start rebuilding their industry, firstly for the domestic market.
Mr Foran says, “We live in the best country on earth and on our doorstep have world-class accommodation, attractions and activities. We’ll be strongly encouraging Kiwis to support our tourism sector and to visit friends and family.”
Despite the easing of restrictions, Ms Ardern is urging the nation to remain cautious and diligent when it comes to following social distancing rules and behaviour.
“We may have won the battle, but we have not won the war,” Ms Ardern told New Zealanders.
“None of us can assume COVID isn’t with us.”
Jacinda Ardern, PM New Zealand
For all Air New Zealand related enquiries, agents and customers are reminded to check the latest information on the travel and transportation section of the Government COVID-19 website and the COVID-19 hub on the Air New Zealand website.
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