New Zealand drops vax passes, eases capacity restrictions

Capacity limits on indoor events will be increased, a move welcomed by NZ's business events industry as a positive step towards recovery.

The New Zealand Government has announced it will end vaccine pass requirements from Monday 4 April, and ease a number of other restrictions, including vaccine mandates and capacity limits on events.

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said that while the Government’s Covid Protection Framework “traffic light” system will remain in place, it will be “significantly simplified,” with changes coming into effect from this weekend.

From Friday 25 March, the capacity limit for indoor events will be increased from 100 to 200, and outdoor capacity removed. QR code scanning and being required to wear a mask outdoors will also be dropped.

Following last week’s border reopening announcement, New Zealand’s business events industry has welcomed the decision as another step forward in the recovery of the sector, which Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), chief executive Lisa Hopkins said will start to bring back vital confidence and clarity for event decision-makers.

“Our sector hasn’t been able to work effectively since last August when traffic light settings of the Covid Protection Framework were set at Red and gathering numbers restricted to 100. Confidence has been at an all-time low,” Hopkins said.

“We look forward to the next review of the Covid Protection Framework settings on 4 April.”

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) 2022, Hopkins said demand for holding events in New Zealand was high, with up to 100 multi-day international conferences and events waiting to confirm bookings.

“New Zealand has world-class venue infrastructure ready, with Te Pae Christchurch now open, Tākina Wellington for next year, and the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in Auckland to follow.

“We are seeing a lot of interest and excitement at AIME here today. Event organisers in Australia are telling us they want to bring their client business back to New Zealand. The positive messages from the Prime Minister today will now drive a sense of surety as we work towards fewer restrictions.”

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