Mayor welcomes increased freedoms

Mayor Phil Goff says the decision to move Auckland to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 Step 2 will be welcomed by Aucklanders. Times photo Wayne Martin

Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s decision to move Auckland to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 Step 2 from midnight last night will be welcomed by Aucklanders.

“We have been in lockdown for around three months and people will enjoy being able to visit shops and retail outlets again,” Goff says.

“It will be an important boost for those businesses and people working in them that have been hit hard by the extended lockdown.”

The response from Aucklanders – with 92 per cent vaccinated and 82 per cent having had their second dose – is a major factor in enabling the continuing easing of restrictions, he says.

“A huge thank you to every Aucklander who has stepped up to get vaccinated and a massive vote of thanks to our vaccinators and healthcare staff, essential workers, community leaders and to everyone who has played a role in helping us achieve this milestone,” says Goff.

“We’ve set a target of getting at least 90 per cent of Aucklanders double vaccinated, at which time most restrictions on those who have had their shots will be removed. We want this to happen before Christmas.”

Goff says lockdown had played an important role in protecting people, but the city can’t stay in lockdown indefinitely.

“There are real costs in the strains it has placed on people’s lives, their wellbeing and their livelihoods,” he says.

“People who have been vaccinated are increasingly unwilling to wait for those who won’t be vaccinated or who haven’t got around to it yet.

“Covid-19 is in the community in significant numbers and those not vaccinated are at most at risk of getting seriously ill.

“We really need everyone prepared to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible so that when we move to the Covid-19 Protection Framework, they will have more protection from Covid and can contribute to containing the spread of the virus.”