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Business events reopen in Auckland

Restrictions eased in New Zealand's largest city, ahead of CINZ industry event in December.

CINZ MEETINGS 2019 in Auckland: New Zealand's business events association hopes the “green light to meet will deliver confidence back to organisers”.
CINZ MEETINGS 2019 in Auckland: New Zealand's business events association hopes the “green light to meet will deliver confidence back to organisers”. Photo Credit:CINZ

Restrictions on gatherings will be eased from tomorrow (8 October), as the Covid-19 Alert level for Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, is reduced to Level 1 status. This means the city's business events industry is once again open to domestic groups, with gatherings of 100 allowed (instead of just 10) and Aucklanders also free to enter any region.

“[Monday’s] announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern dispels all confusion about who can meet and where. We have been given the green light to meet… [so] now is the time to rebuild the industry, and deliver confidence back to organisers who have been holding off planning and booking their events,” said Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins.

Under Alert Level 1, there’ll be no limits on gatherings, and social distancing requirements in restaurants and bars removed. Masks are not required on public transport but still encouraged, while the use of the Covid tracking app and businesses displaying QR codes are both still mandatory.

The New Zealand government had previously given the green light for large events with separate groups of 100 on a country-wide level, starting from May 30 earlier this year. With the lifting of restrictions on social distancing in the country, CINZ and MBIE (NZ Major Events) swiftly proceeded next with a new Voluntary Code for event organisers in June.

However in August, an unexpected surge of Covid-19 cases in Auckland’s community resulted in drastic moves to halt travel in and out, as well as strict bans on personal movement and gathering restrictions. Auckland remained in Alert Level 3 since August, later shifting to Level 2 on September 23, while the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 1 two weeks ago.

With Prime Minister Ardern’s announcement, CINZ Chief Hopkins hopes to spread the message that “it is safe to hold a conference, seminar, workshop, or team recognition event. We want people to understand that business events are the safest type of event that can be held, backed up by the World Health Organisation itself”.

Looking ahead, CINZ is in the midst of planning BE Reconnected, a one-day industry event in December to help kickstart business recovery.

“BE Reconnected will be an essential platform to support the sector now and beyond. It is imperative for the good of the country and for the industry that we now move forward safely, and with assurance,” said Hopkins.