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Bars and nightclubs can resume operating normally from Thursday, as NZ moves to the Orange setting of the traffic light system

Public Policy / news
Bars and nightclubs can resume operating normally from Thursday, as NZ moves to the Orange setting of the traffic light system

Bars and nightclubs will be able to resume operating normally from Thursday, as New Zealand will move from the Red to the Orange setting of the traffic light system.

Under Red, hospitality venues have been required to limit capacity to 200 people indoors. They have also needed to keep people seated and separated. Under Orange, all those restrictions will go, so people will be able to cram into indoor hospitality venues unmasked. 

Mask-wearing is still required in retail stores, on public transport and in health facilities under Orange.

Schools will be able to make their own decisions around mask-wearing.

The next review will be done in mid-May. 

The loosening of restrictions come as the Ministry of Health reported 9495 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. It said 551 people in hospital have Covid-19, and 15 people with Covid-19 have died over the past 24 hours.  

There are currently 64,968 active Covid-19 cases in New Zealand. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases has been falling, as New Zealand is moving beyond the peak of the Omicron outbreak. Below is a graph from the Ministry of Health.

Hipkins said that on average, 100 fewer people are in hospital now versus 10 days ago when the Government last reviewed settings.

He said that for the first time since late-February, all three Auckland hospitals are caring for fewer than 100 patients with Covid-19 each.

“We know this shift down to Orange will be welcome news to many as we head into Easter weekend and the school holidays and connect with loved ones,” Hipkins said.  

“But there is still Omicron in the community, and the threat of new variants arriving here is still risk, so I urge everyone to continue to be cautious and think about the health of others, especially those who are immunocompromised or at higher risk of long-term health impacts from infection.

“It’s also important to make a plan in case you get Covid-19 on holiday. If you’re not using your own vehicle to travel – such as being reliant on airplane or public transport - you need to make sure you can isolate where you are.”

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