The New Zealand government has announced today (Monday) that the country can safely move out of Alert Level 2 at midnight, paving the way for fans to return to sporting fixtures without any restrictions.

Alert Level 1 will allow New Zealanders to resume work, school, sports and domestic travel without any restrictions. New Zealanders will also be free to meet up with as many people as they like.

Controls at borders will remain in place for those entering the country, with a 14-day managed quarantine or isolation to be imposed. As of today, there are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and the country has not recorded a new infection for 17 days.

The lift in restrictions will see Saturday’s Super Rugby Aotearoa become the first professional rugby competition in the world to have fans return “en-masse” following the COVID-19 outbreak.

New Zealand Rugby said there will be no limit on crowd numbers when the Highlanders take on the Chiefs at Dunedin’s 30,000-seat Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday. Fans will also be free to return without restrictions during Sunday’s match between the Blues and the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland.

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Image: Eden Park