After suffering through a seven-week lockdown harsher than Australia’s, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has loosened the screws on New Zealand’s coronavirus restrictions.
Ardern has announced New Zealand will move from level three to level two restrictions from Thursday, phasing in the return of normality.
“As of today we have only 90 New Zealanders recorded with the virus, with only two in hospital,” Ardern said.
“None of it has been through luck, but rather through hard work.
“We are ready to move to level two, to open up the economy, but to do it as safely as possible.”
From Thursday May 14, retail businesses, cafes, gyms and playgrounds will be open, and New Zealanders will be allowed to socialise with friends and family outside their household ‘bubbles’ once more.
From Monday May 18, schools and early learning centres will resume classes as usual.
Kiwis eager to return to the pub will have to wait another 10 days, with May 21 pencilled in for the reopening of bars.
Health officials announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Monday for a total of 1147 cases nationwide through the pandemic.
New Zealand’s death toll stands at 21.