Tuesday, September 07, 2021

A whole new two

New Zealand, except for Auckland, just moved to Covid Alert Level 2, but this time there are new and stricter rules. The government will decide on Monday, September 13, whether any Alert Levels will change: Auckland’s, the rest of New Zealand, or both.

The government has tightened the rules for all levels because of how transmissible the Delta Variant is. The difference between Levels 4, 3, and 2 is primarily in what sorts of businesses are allowed to open and how customers can access those businesses. The facemask wearing requirements are all the same for Levels 2, 3, and 4. Scanning/record keeping is also mandatory at all levels, too. We don’t know yet whether there will be new rules for Level 1, but I’m guessing there will be.

For me, the main advantage of moving to Level 2 is that the family can get together again. Under Level 3, I could form a small exclusive “expanded bubble” with one other small household, but under had to stay home most of the time. So, Level 2 offers similar opportunities for the family to gather as we have under Level 1.

Another difference is that under Level 2 we can shop in shops rather than ordering stuff for delivery or click and collect. That’s helpful for those times we need to see items to evaluate them, as I do for some of my home projects, or if we need something more quickly than we can get it delivered. physical distancing requirements (2 metres apart) can mean having to queue outside and wait, but at least we can go inside. And, I can finally get a haircut!

Eating inside restaurants and cafes is also permitted again at reduced capacity than used to be the case under Level 2, but it’s another way we can get together with family. Even so, I’m not sure how often any of us will do that before Level 1. Takeaways, maybe.

Things are still rough for Aucklanders, who have at least another week under Level 4 Lockdown. They can’t leave the Auckland region without special permission, which has to be for good reason, like essential work. Even then they’re planning on introducing Covid tests to catch any infections that escape Auckland carried by such travellers.

It’s also going to be rough for the people who live in Northland, the region north of Auckland, because they’re essentially cut off from the rest of New Zealand. They’ll be able to travel south through Auckland for things like weddings and funerals as long as they don’t stop anywhere in Auckland. However, tourists from other parts of New Zealand won’t be able to drive north through Auckland.

So, this is good news for everyone except for Aucklanders, and not totally good news for Northlanders, though it’s pretty good. Maybe things will ease further when the government reviews all Alert Levels next week. The important thing, though, is that, we’re making good progress toward once again eliminating Covid. That’s what all of this has always been about.

In my photo for this Level change, above, I continued the imagery from my photo for the recent change to Level 3: One padlock is still firmly locked, representing Auckland still under a Level 4 Lockdown. The now opened lock is the rest of New Zealand under Level 2, but it's still hooked to the closed Auckland lock. The key is still in it because it could be locked again if things go wrong.


Roger Owen Green said...

mu variant coming to the US. It's a small percentage now, but give it three months...

Arthur Schenck said...

Or maybe a few days in Red States.