The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Gathering sizes increase but social distancing rules remain for Kiwi bars

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that the number of people at a gathering can increase from 10 to 100, but that social distancing rules will remain for bars.

In a press conference today, Ardern also said that New Zealand will likely remain in Alert Level 2 for at least another four weeks.

“We are still asking hospitality to continue to seat people, continue with all the social distancing within their venues but they can have larger group sizes,” said Ardern.

This means bars will still not be permitted to have dance floors or any customers approaching the bar area.

“With organised events like weddings, it’s much easier to keep track of who’s together but when you have a large number of strangers going to those hospitality spaces, that becomes more difficult,” said Ardern..

“It’s about risk mitigation. New Zealand is in a good space but when we look abroad we are seeing surging in their cases. We need to keep managing that risk.”

Ardern said that New Zealand has some of the most permissive settings than any of the countries we compare ourselves to, including Australia.

She also said that it is the Government’s view that New Zealand should move as quickly and safely as we can to Alert Level 1.

“On that basis, Cabinet will check in on our settings on the 8th of June and we’ve agreed that no later than the 22nd of June, four weeks from today, we will consider then the move to Alert Level 1,” she said.

During the conference, Ardern also announced that enhanced financial support will be available for those who have lost their jobs because of the virus. A full-time worker will receive $490 tax-free for 12 weeks.

For the full press conference, click here.

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