First day of Alert Level 2

Salvation Army Duedin community ministries manager David McKenzie. PHOTO: ODT FILES

Dunedin residents emerge today from their home “bubbles” into Alert Level 2 with a sense of relief that life and economic activity are resuming.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said this was a “big week” for the community, “with schools, businesses and public facilities reopening, and people being able to visit friends and whanau again”.

“I’m very much looking forward to a haircut.”

Mr Hawkins said the move to Level 2 also made him nervous, “because this is a significant change, and a more nuanced alert level”.

“We haven’t beaten this thing yet, so we need people to be more vigilant than ever about enjoying their new-found freedoms in accordance with the safety rules.”

Otago Primary Principals’ Association president Shelley Wilde was delighted primary children could soon return to school and face-to-face learning with teachers.

“We’re going to be ready to welcome the children back with open arms -figuratively,” she said.

Otago Secondary Principals’ Association president Linda Miller thought it was great students were heading back to school.

“They’ve coped really well with an online learning environment but they’re really missing the social aspect at school.”

Reopening required a lot of work, she said.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said now was the time for local government and business to work together for “a better outcome for our small part of paradise”.

Local government could support local business by prioritising local spending, investing in infrastructure, and promoting the city, and minimising disruption to struggling businesses.

In Level 2, restaurants – and bars able to offer meals – reopen today, providing they follow social distancing rules, take bookings of no more than 10 people and limit dining experiences to under two hours.

Bars will not be able to open until Monday, unless they offer substantial meals to customers.

Hospitality Association of New Zealand Otago branch president and Speight’s Ale House owner Mark Scully, of Dunedin, said for the first week of Level 2, businesses such as his must trade as a restaurant, rather than as a bar, for patrons to drink.

“They can’t just come in and have a couple of pints and bugger off . . . the business needs to have a full menu, with food as its first priority.”

The Salvation Army will today resume most of its pre-lockdown welfare services, but working with people face-to-face will be by appointment only.

Family Stores will likely reopen on Monday.

Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie said it and other social agencies had effectively “worked right through”, as part of the Civil Defence-led response.

“For the most part that has involved delivering food parcels, and being part of the psychosocial response across the region,” he said.

Social agencies were waiting anxiously for the end of the government wage subsidy, which is expected to bring more job losses.

Alert Level 2

New Zealand is now in Alert Level 2. This means:

  • All businesses can open if they can do so safely.
  • We can go in-store at local businesses.
  • Hospitality must follow three S rules: seated, separated and single-server.
  • Tertiary education facilities, schools and early learning centres will be open.
  • We can travel between regions.
  • We can visit local restaurants, cafes and bars to have a meal.
  • We can return to our regular recreation activities, at first keeping to 10 people.
  • Initially, gatherings like weddings, funerals, tangihanga, religious ceremonies and social gatherings can have up to 10 people.
  • We can safely connect and socialise with close friends and family, in groups of 10.