• Covid-19: What life looks like under red

Covid-19: What life looks like under red

The entire country is set to move from the Orange traffic light setting to Red from 11.59pm this evening, meaning new restrictions will come into force. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced the move in an unscheduled press conference this morning, after nine Omicron community cases were discovered in the Nelson-Tasman region. 

The cases, part of a single household, travelled to Auckland for a wedding and other events on the weekend of January 15 and 16, Ardern said.

A further case, who had attended the event, was confirmed late yesterday. These cases flew to Auckland on January 13 to attend a wedding and other events. Initial estimates suggest there were well over 100 people at these events. 

This cluster has already led to an additional infection of a fully vaccinated flight attendant who picked it up on flight 5083 on January 16 from Auckland to Nelson that the family was on.

However, Ardern said there is no "clear lead" on the "index case" linking the family to the border, as they have with other Omicron cases to date. 

"That means Omicron is circulating in Auckland and possibly the Nelson Marlborough region if not elsewhere. As we have seen elsewhere in the world Omicron is significantly more infectious and we will see far more cases than we have in the two years of the pandemic to date." 

Here's what you can and can't do in the new setting:

Hospitality venues such as cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs can open at Red with vaccine passes and restrictions.

Hospitality venues that follow vaccine pass requirements, meaning only people with My Vaccine Pass may enter the premises, have gathering limits of up to 100 people based on 1-metre distancing.

Nightclubs may also open but customers must be seated and separated. Dancing is not allowed.

Early childhood centres, playgrounds, schools and kura can operate at Red and must follow public health measures.

Students from Year 4 and up must wear face coverings indoors and when in close contact with others. Staff and teachers must also wear face coverings.

Students can also attend tertiary education in person with vaccine passes.

People can travel at Red, and accommodation can open without restrictions.

A vaccine pass or negative Covid-19 test is not required to travel unless people are travelling with some transport providers.

Face coverings are required on flights, Cook Strait ferries and at arrival and departure points, such as airports.

Shops, retail outlets and close-proximity businesses can open at Red with capacity limits and 1-metre physical distancing.

People can also have tradespeople and home services inside their homes at Red.

Face coverings must be worn when shopping and going to a bank.

Moving, Buying or Selling Your Home

People can move, buy or sell their house at Red.

Holding and attending open homes and carrying out property inspections is also allowed.

Businesses and Workplaces:
Workplaces can open at Red but working from home is encouraged.

This applies to food and drink services (excluding takeaway-only businesses), events, close-proximity businesses and indoor exercise facilities, such as gyms. The mandate also applies to on-site tertiary education when Red settings are in place.

Close-contact businesses such as hairdressers, as well as gyms and any indoor and outdoor events, can not open or proceed if vaccine certificates are not being used.

Events may go ahead at Red with vaccine pass requirements.

Public facilities such as libraries and zoos can also open at Red with restrictions.

Sport and Recreation:
People can attend sports events and play sport at Red with vaccine pass restrictions.

Indoor and outdoor recreation facilities can also open at Red with restrictions.

For more information, visit: https://covid19.govt.nz/traffic-lights/life-at-red/

In Hawke's Bay, City Medical will move to appointments-only from midnight for everything other than life-threatening emergencies. 

All patients with fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough shortness of breath or sore throat will be seen in their cars or virtually. They will also continue to offer virtual and phone consultation while at red. 

City Medical does not swab for COVID; anyone who has symptoms should ring Healthline or contact The Doctors Napier to arrange a test, a spokesman said.