New Zealand has moved to ‘Orange’ of its Covid-19 traffic light system, meaning indoor capacity limits no longer apply.
The changes came into effect at 11:59pm yesterday (Wednesday) and also mean controlled-access events that involve ticketing or registration can go ahead at a commercial or private venue without restrictions.
The move means that New Zealand residents will be able to enjoy events and entertainment offerings over Easter. However, mask-wearing is still being enforced in environments such as museums but not at indoor or outdoor events.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said: “The revised Covid-19 Protection Framework we introduced three weeks ago has effectively managed the Omicron outbreak at ‘Red’.
“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a sustained reduction in cases and hospitalisations despite the relaxation of settings, so we’re confident a move to ‘Orange’ can lock in those gains while helping the country return to a greater degree of normality.
“Under ‘Orange’ there are no indoor capacity limits and the seated and separated rule for hospitality venues lifts, so bars, cafes and restaurants are able to fill up again.”
Prior to the swap to ‘Orange’, New Zealand was at ‘Red’ alert, meaning many restrictions were in place for events and entertainment settings.
Music festival Rhythm and Vines was recently cancelled as organisers did not know what position they would be in by Easter. The festival was originally planned for New Year but was postponed to Easter before eventually being cancelled due to the uncertainty.
The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which was held in New Zealand and Australia in March and April, was watched by limited capacity crowds before an increase to 100% attendance for the final stages of the tournament.
Capacity crowds were able to return to the country’s stadia from the last weekend of March when outdoor limits were scrapped in changes to the ‘Red’ setting.