The confirmation of community transmission has prompted a swift move up the alert level ladder. Here are the critical questions about Auckland’s move to Covid-19 level three lockdown, answered.
What are the new alert levels – and where do they apply?
Auckland enters alert level three at midday today, Wednesday August 12. At the same time, the rest of the country will go to alert level two.
Where does Auckland start, and where does it end?
It is defined as the Super City, from Wellsford to Pukekohe.
Can kids go to school?
The official advice says that they can – yet the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said at last night’s press conference that school would be open only for the children of essential workers. On balance it seems advisable to keep your kids home.
Remind me – are supermarkets still open?
Yes – they stayed open throughout level four, and will remain so throughout whatever comes next. Supermarkets will need to ensure physical distancing requirements are maintained, so may limit numbers entering stores at the same time – which yes, may mean queues. The advice around panic buying remains: don’t.
Dairies and pharmacies?
Open, but same deal as above in regards to physical distancing.
Bars, cafes and restaurants?
Can open for contactless takeaways and delivery only.
I’m visiting Auckland. Can I leave?
Yes. “If you are currently in Auckland and do not live in Auckland, we suggest that you go home. Practise good hygiene and be conscious of your health. We recommend that you keep your bubble small.”
I live in Auckland. Can I leave?
No. People who live in Auckland shouldn’t leave the city boundaries, and if you live outside of Auckland you shouldn’t come in. There will be a police presence on the borders of the supercity to prevent unnecessary travel once level three takes effect.
What is the advice on masks?
Newly updated as of last night: “It is highly recommended that you wear a mask if you are out and about.”
I have a GP/dentist/optometrist/physio appointment tomorrow. Will it go ahead?
No, not for routine care. If you need urgent attention, appointments can still happen in person, or you might be able to have a virtual consultation – call them to discuss.
No. Any business that has physical interaction with customers is not allowed to open.
Should I go to work?
If you can work from home, work from home. If you can’t, and you work for a business that doesn’t have interactions with the public, you can go to work – but follow physical distancing and health and safety guidelines. For workplaces, physical distancing of one metre is sufficient.
Will public transport be running?
Yes. Maintain physical distancing of two metres and wear a mask.
Do I have to stick to my bubble?
You should stay within your household bubble but can expand this to connect with close family/whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people, according to the official guidelines, updated last night.
Should I keep track of my movements?
Yes. Use the NZ Covid Tracer app or any other reliable method (even good old-fashioned pen and paper).
Will the 1pm briefings return?
There is one scheduled for today featuring Ardern and Bloomfield, along with a press conference from the PM at 10.30am.
What about weddings, funerals and tangihanga scheduled for the next few days?
Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures should be maintained.
Chief justice Helen Winkelmann has announced that jury trials in progress in the Auckland region are suspended until Monday. Throughout the rest of the country, there is a 24-hour suspension of jury trials to allow time for the courts to re-establish the public safety measures which apply at alert level two.
Will this delay the election?
Ardern said last night that no consideration had been given to postponing the election.
But can it be delayed?
As constitutional expert Andrew Geddis explains, up until parliament actually gets dissolved, the PM simply can advise the governor general to exercise her legal powers to move that event and polling day to a different date. Parliament is dissolved today.
After that it’s more complicated, but far from impossible. Read a full explainer here.
I live outside of Auckland. What do I need to know?
All of New Zealand beyond Auckland will be under level two from midday Wednesday. Schools, tertiary institutions and early learning services remain open. Businesses also stay open and you can go to work, but stay one metre apart wherever possible. Wear a mask if you can in public. Read more here.
What if I’m sick?
Don’t go to work. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, get tested.
Where can I get tested?
Capacity at Auckland’s four community testing centres has been boosted, with additional staff and longer hours. Traffic management is in place at all four sites, but people are being asked to expect longer waits than usual and be patient.
In addition, two pop-up centres will be open from 9am today (Wednesday, August 12): one in Ōtara Town Centre carpark (14 Fair Mall, Ōtara) and the second at Health New Lynn (Level 1 carpark, Tōtara Health Services, McCrae Way, New Lynn).
GPs and urgent care clinics are also prepare for a higher volume of testing, and mobile testing units are on standby. These can be “deployed rapidly” to locations throughout the city as directed.