Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has issued a Health Notice providing additional guidance on the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.
The notice includes rules around exercise and shared bubbles.
“The best way to ensure the success of the lockdown is for everyone to play their part. That means staying at home, maintaining physical distancing when outdoors and washing your hands,” says Ashley.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster welcomes the guidance and says police’s primary goal is to ensure people understand the importance of staying home.
The notice sets out:
• Everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement.
• Exercise is to be done in an outdoor place that can be readily accessed from home and two-metre physical distancing must be maintained.
• Recreation and exercise does not involve swimming, water-based activities (for example, surfing or boating), hunting, tramping, or other activities of a kind that expose participants to danger or may require search and rescue services.
• A child can leave the residence of one joint care-giver to visit or stay at the residence of another joint care-giver (and visit or stay at that residence) if there is a shared bubble arrangement.
• A person can leave their residence to visit or stay at another residence (and visit or stay at that residence) under a shared bubble arrangement if: one person lives alone in one, or both of those residences or everyone in one of those residences is a vulnerable person.
“Most New Zealanders are doing the right thing. In the first week of being at Alert Level 4 we have seen high rates of compliance,” says Ashley.
“The vast majority of New Zealanders have a high level of awareness of what they can and can’t do under the Alert Level 4 restrictions, and by and large people are doing a tremendous job.
He says if people do persist in deliberately flouting the restrictions, police will have the discretion to warn or arrest.
“The Health Notice makes it clear what types of outdoor exercise and recreation people shouldn’t do. Outside of that, we are asking people to stay local, apply common sense and not do anything that could risk exposure to injury or require search and rescue services.
“The public should not notice any significant change to policing as we continue to prioritise high visibility reassurance to the community and a continued focus on day-to-day Police work.”
Commissioner Coster says they have recently set a clear expectation of staff on how they police in the current environment.
“We have today updated our operational guidelines to staff, to help them police with confidence and certainty.”
Ashley says the guidance also provides additional clarity around bubbles.
“Specifically, if you live alone and have already established a bubble with another household this can be maintained so long as both households have no contact with others – that they stay in their joint bubble.
“No one is immune to the virus. We are seeing high rates of people aged 20-29 with the virus. These people may not die of it, but if they are not following the rules they can pass it on to others.
“By clarifying the rules we are also reinforcing the ability of Police to enforce them. No one likes a rule breaker, especially when breaking the rules puts other New Zealanders’ lives at risk.
“We’ve started well but now is not the time to be complacent. We need to be extra vigilant to move out of Alert Level 4 as soon as possible, and Police have all the powers they need to make sure people not following the rules are dealt with.
“The Government can’t do this alone. Everyone has one job to do in helping to stamp out the virus, and that is to stay at home and follow the rules.”