New Zealand event restrictions return as new COVID-19 cases surface

Gathering limits have been reintroduced as the country responds to the outbreak.

After 102 days with no community transmission, New Zealand has this week reported a cluster of new COVID-19 cases, forcing the country back into lockdown measures and event restrictions.

Commenting on the initial four cases reported in Auckland on Tuesday 11 August, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “there is a resurgence plan that we will now activate”.

Since then, a number of new cases have been identified, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases to 13 as of today, 13 August.

On Wednesday 12 August, Auckland moved to Alert Level 3, which will last for at least three days, enough time to assess the situation and gather information, said Ardern.

“At Level 3 you are asked to stay at home in your bubble other than for essential movements such as going to the supermarket or local recreation,” she said.

The rest of New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2.

Event restrictions re-introduced

For Auckland, under Alert Level 3, gatherings of any size can not go ahead and public venues are closed.

Funerals, tangihanga (a traditional Māori funeral rite) and wedding services are the only exceptions, and are permitted to go ahead with a maximum of 10 people.

For the rest of the country, gatherings are now restricted to 100 people, with physical distancing requirements back in place.

These restrictions will stay in place for at least three days.

In a Facebook post, Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) urged the business events industry to stay updated on the changes for gatherings.

“We know this is the last thing we all wanted to hear but we have been here before, we know exactly what to do and we will get through this,” the post read.

“Stay safe, take care of yourselves, each other and whanau, we got through it before, we will again.”

Event organisers are directed to the New Zealand Major Events website, which outlines the restrictions in detail.

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