Coronavirus: What alert level 2 means for Auckland, level 1 for rest of New Zealand

Auckland is going to move to alert level 2 at 11:59pm on Wednesday and the rest of New Zealand to level 1 on Monday night.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement earlier on Monday after Cabinet met to discuss New Zealand's current restrictions.

Cabinet will meet again on October 5 to review the new alert levels, but any potential changes wouldn't come into effect until October 7.

Now the levels are changing across New Zealand, there are new restrictions that will come into force. Here's what the new alert levels will mean for Kiwis.

Alert level 2 for Auckland

Auckland's alert level 2 will be in place for at least 14 days until any potential changes on October 7.

The city was in the tailor-made level 2.5 since August 31 as it stepped down from level 3 restrictions following the latest outbreak.

While in this level, the size of gatherings is limited to 10 people, or 50 for tangihanga and funerals. Aucklanders are also asked that, if travelling outside of the city, they consider avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people.

But once the city moves to level 2 on Wednesday night, there will be more freedoms in place.

The alert level two rules are:

  • Social gatherings, funerals and tangihanga of up to 100 people are allowed
  • Face coverings must be worn on public transport and planes since the city is in level 2
  • Face coverings are required on any planes that are going to, from or through Auckland
  • Physical distancing of two metres needs to be followed in public, but a one metre distance can be kept in places like cafes, restaurants and gyms
  • Local and inter-regional travel can occur, but people shouldn't travel if they have COVID-19 symptoms or are awaiting the results of a test
  • People should stay home if they feel unwell, and should get a COVID-19 test if they're showing symptoms
  • Basic hygiene measures such as hand washing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow and cleaning surfaces regularly should be done
  • The COVID Tracer app should be used since it helps with contact tracing if it's required

Ardern said if Aucklanders leave the city, they should be mindful of their actions since there are currently two different alert levels in the country.

"If you're from Auckland and travelling outside [the city], please take your alert level settings with you, and that includes when it comes to large-scale mass gatherings," she said.

"Whilst we have reasonable confidence that we are on the right track there is still a need in Auckland for that cautious approach. This was the centre of the outbreak and that's why that caution is required here.

"However, our view is that when it comes to the rest of the country, given that we have not seen that regional spread, we have enough confidence to lift those restrictions outside of Auckland."

Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty Images

Alert level 1 for the rest of New Zealand

The rest of New Zealand will move to alert level 1 at 11:59pm on Monday.

While level 1 means COVID-19 is "contained", Ardern said there are still things New Zealanders should do at this level. This includes using the COVID Tracer app, maintaining good hygiene practices, and staying home if sick and getting tested.

While social distancing isn't a requirement, people are asked to keep a "safe distance" from those they don't know while out and about.

The Government's COVID-19 website says although face coverings aren't compulsory on public transport at this alert level, they can help keep people safe.

"Face coverings provide an extra level of protection in settings where there is little or no physical distancing between people, for example on public transport and in supermarkets," it says.

"We recommend being prepared by having a supply of face coverings for everyone who usually lives in your household. Add some to your household emergency kit."

Face coverings must be worn if people are travelling to, from or through Auckland.