Simeon Brown writes:
The Prime Minister yesterday announced that New Zealand will be moving into Alert Level 2 from this Thursday 14 May. It’s important we continue to follow the rules of Alert Level 3 and stay in our bubbles until then.
The full list of changes under Level 2 can be found by clicking here and visiting the COVID-19 government website, so please familiarise yourself with them if you haven’t already so we can get New Zealand moving again and minimise any further risk.
A key aspect of Level 2 is that most businesses, excluding bars, will be able to reopen from Thursday, though must abide by hygiene and distancing conditions. From next Monday 18 May all ECEs and schools will reopen fully and students will be able to return to school. Bars will then be allowed to open next Thursday 21 May. This delay is because bars are considered at high risk of further spread of Covid-19. An example given was in South Korea, where they reopened bars only to re-close them soon after as a patron spread the virus to 40 others.
One significant change that the Prime Minister announced was that social gatherings would be limited to 10 rather than the 100 which was announced last week. This means that funerals, weddings, and religious services will remain small with this limit reviewed in 2 weeks. While I support the public health need to limit social gatherings this represents a significant change from what was previously announced and will mean significant limitations on social interaction. For funerals I believe this is the wrong decision, as it is an important time for family and friends to gather and grieve, something which has been taken from over 2000 families who have lost loved ones during the lockdown.
As with Level 3, it is vitally important we support our local businesses as we move into Level 2 to help them get their feet back on the ground, so shop local as much as possible. Our cafes and restaurants in particular will need our support!
Simeon Brown is the MP for Pakuranga