Hospitality sector to open under Traffic Lights System on December 3

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Hairdressers to start for Vaccinated people on November 25

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the media conference today (Screen Grab)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, November 22, 2021

Hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to open their doors to fully vaccinated and pre-booked clients from Thursday, November 25, 2021, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced in Wellington today.

The staff at these places should also be fully vaccinated and their premises will strictly off limits for unvaccinated people and for walk-in customers.

Ms Ardern that this is a kind of rehearsal for the rest of the country opening next week.

She said that the hospitality industry, comprising thousands of bars, restaurants, cafeteria and other eateries will be allowed to open from 11.59 pm on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Certainty under Traffic Lights

Effective this time, New Zealand move into the Traffic Lights System.

“The State Cabinet has provided New Zealanders certainty by confirming that the whole country will move into the Traffic Light System on December 3. Setting the date now gives people, communities and businesses time to prepare to move safely and smoothly into the new system. Decisions on what colour each region will move into will be confirmed on November 29, 2021, giving regions time to drive up vaccination rates further,” she said.

According to Ms Ardern, Auckland will be at the Red signal. The settings for other regions will be based on factors like vaccination levels, but the Cabinet has confirmed that no region will start at Green while the country is still battling with the community spread of Covid-19.

“Later this week, we will release detailed sector guidance so that business and other organisations can see how they will operate at each setting of the traffic light. While life will feel relatively normal under the new system, which is simpler and safer than the alert levels, it  is time to get prepared to move,” Ms Ardern said.

(Infographics by Newshub)

Emphasis on Vaccination

Ms Ardern insisted that much of the progress through the Traffic Lights System will depend on the Vaccination rate and that Vaccine Pass will soon become enforceable.

“The number one thing that New Zealanders can do is get vaccinated, because the key difference between the two systems is that vaccine passes will shortly be required at places like bars, gyms and restaurants. So download your Vaccine Pass now,” she said.

Ms Ardern said that the government is also preparing Vaccine Passes at hairdressers and barbers in Auckland from November 25 to ensure that the transition into the new system goes as smoothly as possible the following week.

“Hairdressers have been chosen because by default the scale they operate at, with a limited number of customers at any given time, poses the least risk for the next stage of re-opening.

Those businesses that participate in the trial must operate with Vaccine Passes, take bookings only, and all staff must be fully vaccinated. The hard truth is that Delta is here and not going away, but New Zealand is well set to tackle it because of our high vaccination rates and our latest safety measures including the Traffic Light System and Vaccine Pass,” she said.

Cautious approach to Covid

Ms Ardern said that the government’s Covid management remains cautious to protect lives and livelihoods and that this method has served well.

“We are fast approaching the next phase in our Covid response that delivers more freedoms and recognises the hard work Kiwis have done to get vaccinated. 83% of eligible New Zealanders are fully vaccinated, but 195,786 people or 4.6% of the eligible population are more than three weeks since their first shot. If all those who are overdue for their second shot got it today, New Zealand would be 88% fully vaccinated,” she said.

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