All capacity restrictions and social distancing restrictions on live events could be removed in New Zealand as early as next week, as prime minister Jacinda Ardern prepares to move into the final stage of lockdown easing.
Laying out what alert level one would mean for New Zealanders in a press conference this week, Ardern indicated that the country could enter this final phase of lifting – which effectively removes all restrictions for businesses – as early as 10 June, with the cabinet meeting on Monday (8 June) to set a date.
Under alert level one, there will be no restrictions on the number of people who can attend concerts, sports events or other gatherings, and no requirements for physical distancing at such events. The capacity limit on events is currently 100.
Ardern states the government would work alongside organisers of large-scale events and ticketing agencies to develop a “Covid code”, ensuring details of those attending are collected to facilitate effective contact tracing.
Nightclubs, which have been unable to open under level two, will be permitted to reopen fully when the new regulations come into place, with dancing and mingling no longer off-limits.
“We want to work alongside those who put on events, so that they do have information available to help us with contact tracing”
“We may be confident that we’re an environment where we do not have Covid in circulation, but if we have a situation where even one case emerges, and it’s found that they had been in attendance at a large event, we always have to be prepared to be able to contact trace successfully,” says Ardern.
“[This] is why we want to work alongside those who put on events, large sporting events, music events, work with ticketing agencies, so that they do have information available for short periods of time to help us with contact tracing.”
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health released the NZ Covid Tracer app on 20 May. Those who download the app create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to venues and othe business premises or public buildings.
The New Zealand government recently dedicated NZ$16.5 million (€9.2m) to aid the recovery of its live music industry, as part of a wider $175 million (€98m) financial stimulus package for the arts and creative sectors.
The move was discussed at the first IPM Says virtual panel which took place today, and can be watched back on YouTube. A full write up of the session will be published on IQ tomorrow.
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