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New Zealand Is Moving to Orange Tonight, So Hospitality Limits Are Ditched and Dance Floors Are Back

Under orange, there are no indoor capacity limits and the 'seated and separated' rule for bars, cafes and restaurants is no more.
By Sarah Templeton
April 13, 2022
By Sarah Templeton
April 13, 2022

Been holding out for a dance floor boogie or a rave with mates? We've got good news. As numbers of COVID-19 in the community continue to drop, New Zealand is bidding farewell to red level and moving down into orange, meaning density limits are being ditched and dancing is back.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced the news in a post-cabinet stand-up in the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13, and in a very quick turnaround, revealed the change will come into effect at 11:59pm the same day.

"Under orange, there are no indoor capacity limits and the 'seated and separated' rule for hospitality venues lifts, so bars, cafes and restaurants are able to fill up again," Hipkins said in the announcement.

He iterated that face masks will still be required in many areas including retail businesses, and said they're especially important now capacity limits have been removed.

"People are required to wear a face mask in many indoor settings. Next to being vaccinated and having a booster, face masks are our main defence against COVID-19 at orange," said Hipkins.

So what happens at orange?

After a long few months at red, there's a good chance you can't remember what life even looks like at orange. Here's a refresher, according to the government's COVID-19 website.

  • You do not need to wear a face mask at indoor or outdoor hospitality venues, but public-facing workers at indoor hospitality venues must wear face masks.
  • Hospitality venues, such as cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, can open with no limits on the number of people who can be at the venue — either indoors or outdoors. You also do not have to be seated to be served, so get ready to groove again.
  • Controlled-access events can go ahead and public facilities can open, with no limits on how many people can attend an event or public facility.

The move is sure to breathe life back into the city centre and arts and hospitality sectors, all of which have been suffering over the last couple of years. And good news for those Aucklanders heading back into the office — to celebrate the level change, Heart of the City will be hitting the streets in the first few days after the Easter weekend to hand out hundreds of vouchers for free coffees and lunches to "work locals".

The entirety of New Zealand will move into the orange level of the country's COVID-19 traffic light protection framework at 11:59pm on Wednesday, April 13. For more information on what life looks like at orange, head to the official COVID-19 website.

Published on April 13, 2022 by Sarah Templeton
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