ZB

PM announces Northland to move out of red at midnight tonight

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Jan 2022, 3:29pm
John Maurice, chairman of the Northland branch of the Hospitality Association, has welcomed the region moving to orange under the Government's Covid Protection Framework.
John Maurice, chairman of the Northland branch of the Hospitality Association, has welcomed the region moving to orange under the Government's Covid Protection Framework.

PM announces Northland to move out of red at midnight tonight

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Jan 2022, 3:29pm

Northland will join the rest of New Zealand by moving into orange traffic light settings from midnight tonight, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced, with the decision welcomed in the region. 

Ardern's announcement has pleased Northland's hospitality sector in particular, with the bigger players saying they can now seat more than 100 guests who have vaccine passport. 

Under the red light setting, public gatherings are limited to 100 or fewer people, while hairdressers also have to maintain stricter public health measures. 

For those not using vaccine passes, close-proximity businesses – such as hairdressers – are not able to operate. In gatherings allowed numbers are limited to 25. 

An update of vaccination rates in Northland was a strong factor in the Government's decision to move the region on par with the rest of the country. 

First dose vaccination in Northland is now at 89 percent and second dose sitting at 86 percent. 

Ardern said the easing of the Auckland boundary over summer did not drive an increase in cases so the Government believed it was safe for Northland to join the rest of the country at Orange. 

John Maurice, chairman of the Northland branch of the Hospitality Association, said any loosening of the rules was greatly appreciated. 

"Everything else remains the same in Northland as under the red light except bars and restaurants will be able to seat more than 100 people, as far as the hospitality sector is concerned." 

Maurice said it would have been hard for the Government to justify keeping Northland in red past today. 

Northland Mayoral Forum chairman Jason Smith is delighted the region is not being singled out as a troubled area. 

"I am glad consistency is being maintained and the Government's decision shows Northland is a safe place to be in, and our readiness for the pandemic is as good as everyone else's," he said. 

The Prime Minister also confirmed there wouldn't be lockdowns when Omicron got into the community and instead, New Zealand would move into red within 24 to 48 hours of it entering a community. 

- by Imran Ali