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After nearly two months in lockdown isolation, Aucklanders can finally burst their bubbles and reconnect with loved ones. But what can you do in this new-look level 3?
This loosening of level 3 kicks off the Government’s three-stage plan to end Covid restrictions.
From today, two households will be able to gather outdoors, up to a maximum of 10 people.
Whether it be a catch up to walk the dogs or a family picnic, masks wearing is encouraged and being socially distanced is a must.
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On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said outdoor gatherings was the safest option – and pleaded with Aucklanders to keep those meetings with other people outside.
“The science tells us Covid finds it hard to spread outdoors,” she said.
“The natural ventilation provided by being outside makes it hard for the virus to spread, which makes outdoor gatherings the safest option.”
Mayor Phil Goff has asked people to remember Covid-19 is still in the community.
“Being able to meet friends or family is something many Aucklanders have really been looking forward to, but remember it needs to be outside where there is much less chance of contagion.”
So you can take your children to see their grandparents, but they cannot exchange a hug. However, if you’re meeting up for some long-awaited catch-up drinks you can remove your mask when eating and drinking.
While it may be hard for young children to distance themselves, play dates outdoors are allowed as long as parents are careful.
If you don’t want to join the masses and catch up with another household at the park or beach, you can reconnect in your backyard. But what if nature calls and you need to go to the bathroom?
Dr Ashley Bloomfield said you can use the bathroom as long as it doesn’t create any indoor gathering.
While more Auckland facilities will be available to Aucklanders, Auckland Council is asking people use their common sense.
“Playgrounds, skateparks and basketball courts will reopen but we ask that people exercise common sense when out and about.”
From today, Aucklanders will also be able to travel across the region to pursue outdoor recreational pursuits, like hunting, fishing and walks on the beach, provided other rules on distancing, masks and bubbles are adhered to.
With boaties set to hit the water, Coastguard CEO Callum Gillespie is asking Aucklanders to not rush to the water and take the time to checked and prepped their vessels.
“For almost two months, boats in Auckland have sat idle, which means boaties need to run a full check on their engines and batteries and replace old fuel with clean, fresh fuel,” Gillespie said.
While Coastguard New Zealand will continue to operate on a reactive basis, non-urgent callouts may experience a delayed response.
“Skippers should also double-check the fundamentals of boating safety before launching – lifejackets for everyone on the boat, having two forms of waterproof communication and keeping an eye on local marine weather before heading out.”
On Monday, Ardern stressed that keeping all activities restricted to the outdoors was “fundamental to this change”.
“Don’t feel tempted, if the weather turns bad, to switch over to meeting in your homes,” she said. “Being outside is what makes the difference here.”
Unfortunately, Auckland’s weather has plans to keep people indoors with an unsettled weather week ahead.
MetService has said those in Auckland should expect rain at times today, mainly in the afternoon. With scattered rain, and possibly heavy rain expected on Thursday.
While this may seem like you can make a trip across to Waiheke Island, Auckland is still in level 3, so taking a holiday away is a no-no.
However, Fullers360 is seeking clarity on whether it can ferry day trippers to Waiheke Island under the rules.
A spokeswoman for the ferry operator told the Herald on Monday it was working with Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi to understand what the new three-step approach means for public transport operators.
On top of being able to catch up with loved ones outdoors, parents are now able to send their children back to daycare.
Early childhood education will reopen, with limits of groups of 10 in a bubble and infection control processes.
“Our public health team believe that with the right precautions in place, including limiting the size of groups to 10 children within a bubble at an ECE, strict infection prevention and control, the risk posed by the return of ECE is low,” Ardern said.
Parents and caregivers must wear masks for pick up and drop-offs and ECE teachers were encouraged to agree to regular tests and vaccinations.
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