On Wednesday New Zealand’s covid-19 alert level moved down to level 2, which gives people a lot more freedom to move around, as long as they are careful.
People can travel, go to work, and even go to restaurants, but they still have to maintain good hand hygiene and physical distancing.
Good hand hygiene means that people wash their hands often, and don’t touch their faces with unwashed hands. Physical distancing means that you must stay one meter away from close friends and colleagues, and two meters away from strangers.
Restaurants have a rule called “three S’s”: seated, spaced out and served by only one waiter. It means that all customers must be sitting down at a table, the tables have to be one meter apart, and they must deal with only one waiter. They should pay at their table, not go to a counter to pay.
The maximum group size is ten. For example, a group of ten can share a table at a restaurant, or sit together at a cinema. Many businesses have to keep records of who is in the building so that if anyone gets sick, contact tracing will be possible. Contract tracing is the process for finding the people who may have been near someone who later turned out to be sick.
alert level: New Zealand has a system of alert levels so that people can easily understand how much danger there is of catching covid-19 and how to behave.
as long as: this phrase is used to express a condition. It is similar to “but only if”.
maintain: in this context, “maintain” means to follow a process regularly.
spaced out: in this context, “spaced out” means that each table is far away from the other tables. It is quite a funny phrase because it can also be used to mean “intoxicated”, so people sometimes laugh when they hear the prime minister say that we must all be “spaced out”!
turn out to be: we use this phrase when our knowledge of facts changes. For example, you get a pet and you think it is female but later you discover it is male. You can say, “I named my kitten Lucy but she later turned out to be male.”