Accommodation services are among those able to continue to operate during the four-week shutdown period, provided they open only for essential workers, emergency housing and for people who are in isolation or quarantine.
The Government has outlined what businesses were able to remain open during the lockdown, while the country moves into alert level 4 at 11.59pm today, Wednesday 25 March.
The shutdown means all non-essential businesses must close. All bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds and any other place where the public congregates must close their face-to-face function.
Border services including Customs New Zealand would continue to operate, but would put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.
Ferry services, road and rail would still be available for the transport of essential goods.
For the time being, visitors and tourists could use international air services to travel home, however, the Government said people should not go to the airport unless they had a ticket for flying.
The deadline for domestic travel for those returning home has been extended until midnight Friday, 27 March. People can take domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home until then.
Transport minister Phil Twyford said domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, had been inundated with people trying to get home before the original cut-off date of midnight today.
“The Government recognises New Zealanders are trying to do the right thing by returning home ahead of the country moving to level 4,” said Twyford.
“There has been further pressure on domestic passenger services from international tourists who are completing self-isolation and declared Covid-19-free to move to their final destination in New Zealand.
“That’s why the Cabinet Covid Committee this [Tuesday] afternoon agreed to extend the deadline for non-essential workers and international tourists to keep using domestic passenger services until midnight Friday. After this time, services will only be provided to essential services and workers, including freight services.”
International travellers would only be allowed to use domestic passenger services to reach their final destination to comply with lock-down requirements.
“These airplanes, trains, and ferries are expected to implement physical distancing and other protective measures that are appropriate for their services,” said Twyford.
“I want to thank passengers for their patience as we urgently worked through this unintended consequence of the battle to fight Covid-19.”
After midnight Friday, domestic air travel would be restricted to essential transport only. This means only people undertaking essential services and the transport of freight would be allowed to fly, with the exception of visitors and tourists who would need to use domestic air travel to proceed to an international airport.
As of 10am, Tuesday 24 March, New Zealand had 155 cases of the Covid-19 virus, including 13 probable cases that are counted as confirmed.
Details on what essential businesses can stay open during the lockdown can be found at https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/
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