Coronavirus: We now know what COVID-19 alert level 3 looks like - what about level 2?

We now know that bars, restaurants and cafes will still be closed during COVID-19 alert level 3, but once we reach alert level 2, "most businesses" will be allowed to open in New Zealand and regional travel restrictions will ease. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid out what New Zealand will look like when the Government lifts the alert level 4 lockdown, confirming that some businesses will be allowed to return, but many restrictions will remain. 

Travel is still restricted and is only allowed for permitted movement in your local area, such as going to work or school, shopping or getting exercise, and you can only use public transport to travel to school or work. 

Public venues, such as libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts and pools will remain closed, and gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed but only for weddings and funerals, while retail stores will stay shut. 

On the bright side, food delivery will be allowed and we will be able to indulge in our favourite takeaway joints, however most people will still need to work from home where possible, and you still won't be able to get a haircut or go to the gym. 

But when the Government eventually determines that the risk of the coronavirus spreading in the community has lessened, with just one or two cluster outbreaks occurring, the country will be brought into alert level 2. 

When that day comes, most businesses will be able to open and employees will be able to return to work, as long as appropriate measures are taken to prevent the virus spreading. 

By that time, schools and early childhood education centres will all be open, with distance learning still available for those unable to attend school, such as students in self-isolation. 

Kiwis will still be advised to avoid non-essential inter-regional travel, but it will be allowed. International travel, however, will still likely be unavailable, and that's partly out of the Government's control because many nations will still have their borders shut. 

Health services will start operating as normal by alert level 2 and public venues will be able to open if they comply with conditions on gatherings - the rules will state that up to 100 people can gather indoors and 500 people outdoors. 

Sport and recreation will also make a comeback under alert level 2, with activities allowed if conditions on gatherings are met, physical distancing is followed and travel is kept local. 

The Government's decision to shift alert levels comes down to how much of a threat the virus poses to communities and how likely it is that it has been contained, and this will based on the most recent data on cases and clusters. 

The number of new cases has been consistently dropping for past week, and the Prime Minister said the "indications at this stage are promising". 

We will know on April 20 if the Government decides to bring us out of the lockdown, and there is a chance certain regions will be brought our while others remain. 

But looking further ahead, there is still one more alert level New Zealanders will face before things return to normal. 

The Government will bring the country into alert level 1 when the virus is considered to be contained but there is still evidence that it is not under control overseas. 

By that time, there will be no restrictions on gatherings or domestic transport, while schools and workplaces will be open, but border entry restrictions will remain to minimise the risk of importing the virus. 

The border is currently only open to returning Kiwis and they are all required to undergo two weeks of quarantine in Government-organised hotels near Auckland Airport.

There is pressure on the Government to move the country out of strict lockdown measures as soon as possible, particularly alert level 4, because the economy is taking a hammering. 

So far, around $9 billion has been paid out by the Government to subsidise the wages of more than a million New Zealanders, and that's part of a $20 billion package to get the country through this – billions borrowed with billions more expected in the coming months. 

The Prime Minister is aware of the dire need to get the economy humming again, but she says eliminating COVID-19 will "take a team-of-five-million effort". 

"Under lockdown we have shown our ability to put in place a virtual wall that has broken the chain of transmission. Our new line of defence when we reach level 3 is common sense, following the rules and trust in one another."