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New Zealand removes indoor capacity limits

The country's Covid traffic light system has been switched to orange following a "sustained" drop in cases and hospitalisations

By James Hanley on 20 Apr 2022

Rhythm and Vines welcomed 20,000 patrons to the recent NYE celebrations

Rhythm and Vines

Indoor concerts in New Zealand can now go ahead without capacity restrictions after the country’s traffic light system switched to ‘orange’.

The system, which came into effect last December, assigns a colour (green, orange or red) based on vaccination rates and the spread of Covid-19 in the community, as well as a set of corresponding restrictions. It was previously set at ‘red’, meaning venues using vaccine certificates were limited to 200 people with 1m social distancing.

However, a “sustained reduction” in Covid infections has prompted the move to orange, which means venues face no limits on gatherings at events, retail and hospitality.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a sustained reduction in cases and hospitalisations despite the relaxation of settings”

“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a sustained reduction in cases and hospitalisations despite the relaxation of settings, so we’re confident a move to orange can lock in those gains while helping the country return to a greater degree of normality,” says Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins.

“Under orange there are no indoor capacity limits and the seated and separated rule for hospitality venues lifts, so bars, cafes and restaurants are able to fill up again.”

Last month, prime minister Jacinda Arden announced the removal of vaccine pass requirements, most vaccine mandates, QR code scanning and outdoor gathering limits, while doubling the limit for indoor gatherings from 100 to 200 people.

However, festival organisers and promoters argued the rollback of restrictions was “meaningless” at that point in the events calendar.

Live Nation-owned Rhythm and Vines was cancelled for the first time in its 19-year-history and will now celebrate its 20th anniversary at the end of the year instead. Elsewhere, Auckland’s Outerfields festival, which has twice been beset by Covid delays, is now scheduled for 3 December and Lorde’s Solar Power tour has shifted to February/March 2023.


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