AUCKLAND – In a promising sign of recovery, the New Zealand government has confirmed that large events with separate groups of 100 can proceed. This came into effect on 30 May.
The move follows an earlier announcement in May that allowed events to proceed with a 100-people cap. While the move means that the overall cap per group remains at 100, excluding staff, multiple groups of 100 are now allowed provided they are in separate ‘defined spaces’.
Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive Ms Lisa Hopkins said the business events industry “welcomes the government’s changes to Alert Level 2, which allow multiple groups of 100 people to attend conference events”.
“These new guidelines give our industry much more confidence to plan forward, knowing we can deliver larger events. We can now go ahead and confirm bookings for groups of 500, for example, by using five different divisions within the same venue, ensuring groups can move in and out of venues in a safe way,” she said.
The government has issued general guidelines that can help event organisers work through considerations when ensuring separate gatherings of 100, covering areas like separation of spaces, service crews, shared facilities and staggering of event start and end times.
For example, a best practice would be ensuring that workers provide services to only one group of 100, and cannot move between multiple groups of 100, although this is not a legal requirement.
Record-keeping for contact tracing is required for workers and attendees. Where possible, people must maintain one-metre distancing from people they do not know.
CINZ is in the process of surveying its members to find out what new events are being planned or have been delivered under the new guidelines.
“With New Zealand’s excellent track record so far in defeating COVID-19, our restrictions are likely to ease further in coming weeks and months, opening up further options for planning large-scale events. With the possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble as early as July, we can now start preparing to welcome more people to our venues across the country.
“New Zealand is ranked top of the world for ease of doing business, low corruption and peacefulness. Add to this, New Zealand’s reputation as a world leader for government COVID-19 communication, our excellent venues and infrastructure, and we are in a strong position to be one of the most globally trusted places to meet,” Lisa Hopkins says.
New Zealand is working hard to assist in creating the trans-Tasman bubble and looks forward to having a definite timeline, which is being discussed by both Governments, with talk of a possible September start.
The New Zealand government is considering a move to lift all COVID-19 restrictions except border controls after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country was on track to eliminate the virus “ahead of schedule.”
This means that physical distancing measures could be eased as early as next week. The country has just one active case of COVID-19 and no new reported cases in the past 10 days at press time.