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New Zealand set ease lockdown from NEXT WEEK and reopen businesses and restaurants 

New Zealand is set to ease their month-long stage four lockdown from next week, allowing thousands of businesses to reopen.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said unless there was an unexpected surge in coronavirus cases over the next few days, ‘the evidence looks compelling’ to ease New Zealand’s shutdown level from stage four to stage three, in line with Australia’s lockdown level.

The change in lockdown level will allow restaurants and cafes to reopen to offer takeaway food.

The had been closed since Stage Four was introduced on March 26, leaving only supermarkets and chemists open. 

On Wednesday April 22 the four-week period will come to an end.

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (above) feels it's time to get New Zealand's economy going after month-long COVID-19 shut down

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (above) feels it's time to get New Zealand's economy going after month-long COVID-19 shut down

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters (above) feels it’s time to get New Zealand’s economy going after month-long COVID-19 shut down

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (above) ordered the nation-wide, stage four lockdown on March 26 to slow the spread of coronavirus

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (above) ordered the nation-wide, stage four lockdown on March 26 to slow the spread of coronavirus

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (above) ordered the nation-wide, stage four lockdown on March 26 to slow the spread of coronavirus

Mr Peters said cabinet will make the final decision on Monday whether to ease the restriction.

‘It’s wise to make a decision at the last possible moment,’ he told Newstalk ZB radio on Thursday.

‘It would not be wise to make up your mind before Monday next week without seeing what the results today, tomorrow and the next day are.

‘But at the moment things are pointing to an easing up of the situation.’

New Zealand acted early in their fight to contain deadly coronavirus with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordering the lockdown of 4.8 million people when the country had just 283 COVID-19 cases and no recorded deaths.

At present New Zealand has a total of 1,386 confirmed cases including nine deaths.

While New Zealand’s efforts have largely been hailed as a success, opposition leader Simon Bridges said the economic fallout has been severe.

He said Australia would emerge in a far better position economically than New Zealand because it had allowed ‘more businesses and services – such as baristas – to stay open’.

‘Health and the economy were interlocked, and if we did not move fast to get workers and businesses back, mental health issues would be as bad as COVID-19,’ Mr Bridges said.

But with Monday’s cabinet decision likely to be in favor of lifting the restrictions, thousands of operators could be back in businesses.

Mr Peters said the government is currently drawing up a set of guidelines to determine which companies and industries will be able to trade.

Cyclists (pictured) are the only users of Tennyson Street on April 11, 2020 in Napier, New Zealand, after the country went into stage four lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under the restrictions New Zealanders are not allowed to leave their homes unless for exercise, essential supplies

Cyclists (pictured) are the only users of Tennyson Street on April 11, 2020 in Napier, New Zealand, after the country went into stage four lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under the restrictions New Zealanders are not allowed to leave their homes unless for exercise, essential supplies

Cyclists (pictured) are the only users of Tennyson Street on April 11, 2020 in Napier, New Zealand, after the country went into stage four lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Under the restrictions New Zealanders are not allowed to leave their homes unless for exercise, essential supplies

Pictured is the empty streets of the Napier city centre on April 11, 2020 in New Zealand, after the country went into a four-month, nation-wide lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19

Pictured is the empty streets of the Napier city centre on April 11, 2020 in New Zealand, after the country went into a four-month, nation-wide lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19

Pictured is the empty streets of the Napier city centre on April 11, 2020 in New Zealand, after the country went into a four-month, nation-wide lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19

‘We want clarity to enable as many businesses to get back into business as possible,’ he said.

‘The guidelines should be as expansive as possible because you have got to trust New Zealanders to follow the rules.

‘They know their lives and the lives of their neighbours are at stake, but in the end we have to get this economy going … as fast as we possibly can without making a mistake on the way though.’

While it is expected gyms and large gatherings at restaurants will still be restricted, any other businesses which are able to enforce social distancing measures will be allowed to operate.

‘What I can say now is that our emphasis at level three moves from ‘essential’ economic activity to ‘safe’ economic activity,’ Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

‘The critical questions are: is it possible for your business to have social distancing?’

‘Can you build in contact tracing tools or mechanisms to keep track of your supply chain and customers?’

New Zealand Police officers (pictured) enforce stage four lockdown restrictions by stopping cars travelling north towards Hanmer Springs at a checkpoint on April 10, 2020 in Amberley

New Zealand Police officers (pictured) enforce stage four lockdown restrictions by stopping cars travelling north towards Hanmer Springs at a checkpoint on April 10, 2020 in Amberley

New Zealand Police officers (pictured) enforce stage four lockdown restrictions by stopping cars travelling north towards Hanmer Springs at a checkpoint on April 10, 2020 in Amberley

 

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