Using the loo just one of the COVID-19 rules causing confusion as Auckland enjoys taste of freedom

We never thought we'd have to ask this but: Prime Minister, can we go to the bathroom?

If you're an Aucklander visiting a neighbour, the answer is no. It's just one of the confusing rules that had to be clarified as Tāmaki Makaurau enjoyed its first tiny taste of freedom on Wednesday. 

Aucklanders hit the harbour celebrating their new- found recreational freedom, with some off for a kayak, others fishing and setting out on a voyage. 

Onshore it was a tale of two playgrounds - one deserted while another was in full swing. That's possibly because the playground rules were chopped and changed. 

The official COVID-19 website initially said they were closed, but now they're allowed. 

"Yes," said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, when asked to confirm the rule at his 1pm press conference on Wednesday.

Officials were also confused about who could exercise together. On Tuesday night, it was two households with a maximum of 10 people. Now, it's 10 people, from as many as 10 bubbles.

So if you're meeting a mate, it's only two bubbles allowed, but if you're a crossfit crew, 10 bubbles are allowed to meet. 

"There are additional requirements for things like a group workout where people have to be certain distances apart," Hipkins explained. 

Now you can nip over to the neighbours, but no one's got a clue what to do about the loo. 

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said no. 

"If you haven't got a good bladder, don't stay for long," she said. 

But Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield suggested you can go. 

"I'm assuming they're not all going to the toilet at the same time," Dr Bloomfield said. 

On Tuesday, the official advice was no, but Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said go.

"We're not expecting there to be gatherings of people in the toilet but if people need to go, no doubt they will manage that situation," Robertson told The AM Show. 

But that's not the message from Hipkins. 


It's not just alert level 3 changes that are muddled. The Government dropped the maximum mass gathering limit of 100 for alert level 2 too, introducing one metre spacing rules instead.

Sky Stadium is still keeping Friday's Wellington Canterbury Clash behind closed doors. Hawke's Bay want to welcome fans for their Ranfurly Shield match this weekend, but say the guidelines aren't clear. 

"The guidelines aren't very clear. There's an element of confusion there. But we'll just work to the best of our ability to try and stand up as many as we can within a safe environment," says Hawke's Bay Rugby CEO Jay Cambell. 

Hipkins wasn't sure if stadiums could open under alert level 2 with more than 100 people. 

"I'll have to check that one for you."

If he doesn't know, who does?