Wellington is moving to orange under the new traffic light system to manage Covid-19.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today confirmed the country would move to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework from 11.59pm on Thursday, doing away with the alert level settings that have become part of daily life since March last year.
Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move to red.
The rest of the North Island and the whole of the South Island will move to orange.
Under orange, there are no limits on the likes of hospitality venues, home gatherings, weddings, concerts, and gyms provided vaccine passes are being used.
Jordan Mills, a director of a group that owns several hospitality businesses in Wellington, said the announcement was a relief.
He said some of his sites have been closed for about 15 weeks and he was excited to get them open this weekend.
“I think we’re all just itching and screaming to get back to some sort of normality and we’re hoping that’s coming soon with our really high vaccination rates and the My Vaccine Passes, hoping we can … live life how we want to”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today confirmed the country would move to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework from 11.59pm Thursday. Photo / File
Mills said providing proof of vaccination to get into hospitality venues was the city’s new reality.
“It’s as simple as that. If they don’t want to show us, unfortunately they won’t be able to come in under these rules.”
Earlier today, the Ministry of Health reported 90 per cent of Capital & Coast DHB’s eligible population was fully vaccinated, becoming the second DHB in the country to achieve the significant milestone after Auckland DHB.
Mayor Andy Foster said Wellington City has done incredibly well in terms of its vaccination rate.
He said while it would have been nice for the city to move to green considering there was no community transmission in Wellington, he acknowledged the lifting of Auckland’s border would likely change that.
“As we move towards the opening up of at least New Zealand, we’ve all got to keep doing the things which I’ve seen people doing so well which is wearing masks, contact tracing, and practising hygiene protocols. Those are the best ways to keep ourselves safe as we move forward.”
Wellington mayor Andy Foster. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Foster said vaccine passes would be challenging for some businesses and event organisers.
“It’s an additional cost and it will mean for us, as members of the public going to events, that we’ll need to get there a little bit earlier than we normally would.”
Meanwhile, the Wellington City Council is currently consulting with staff on a draft Covid-19 vaccination policy, before making a decision by Thursday morning as to which roles and sites will require mandatory vaccinations.
Health and safety risk assessments have been undertaken on all of the council’s roles, services, and facilities.
The council’s draft policy currently recommends council facilities including libraries, gyms, pools, recreation centres, community centres, service centre and some sports facilities require a vaccination pass for entry.
Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow said the strategy was no longer about elimination.
“We need to prepare to live with Covid-19 in our community and do what we can to minimise its impact and spread. Vaccinations are a big part of how we make that happen, alongside other safety measures set out in the framework.”
The Wellington City Council will confirm the status of its services and facilities on its website and social media channels on Thursday, ahead of the introduction of the new traffic light system.