New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the country will be moving to Alert Level 2 on Thursday, thus relaxing COVID-19 restrictions further.
Ardern says the NZ Government will approach the easing of restrictions gradually in order to manage the risks of moving too fast.
"At the moment, what we're being guided by is how do we open up the economy but in the safest way possible," says Ardern.
New Zealanders will then be able gather in groups of up to 10 people, including at home, for weddings, funerals, cultural gatherings, religious ceremonies, and within a restaurant or venue.
Bars will have to wait until 21 May to reopen; a "pragmatic" decision according to the PM based on evidence and data gathered by the government.
"It does give us time to look at that extra data...to make sure we are moving safely," says Ardern.
"We will be looking to provide more support to business and that it something we will be announcing soon. But that of course is reflective of the fact that there will be some businesses who will take a while to gear up even when we start to move into Level 2."
Under this next stage, schools will resume next Monday.
New Zealand will remain in Alert Level 2 for two weeks, after which the Government will conduct a review and determine whether to stay at the same level of restrictions or not.
"The goal has always been as safely as possible to move back to some form of normality as soon as possible," says Ardern.
"We haven't put a final number on Level 2, but if we are able to sustain longer and no cases then that will mean that we are further and further towards our ongoing goal of elimination and we will be able to further open up.
"Regardless...even if we have low and low numbers we'll still be looking at border restrictions and we will still be encouraging everyone to practice those hygiene measures that will keep all of us safe."
Updated at 3:24pm AEST on 11 May 2020.
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