Because more people are getting vaccinated against Covid-19, we will soon have freedom to travel.
People can start traveling out of Auckland on the 15th of December. Anyone leaving will need to have a vaccination certificate or have had a negative test within 72 hours of departure. These are called travel documents, and people will have them on their phones. The vaccination certificate will be a QR code. The negative covid test is usually a text message.
These rules will stay the same for the summer, from the 15th of December to the 17th of January, 2022.
So now we can now confidently book summer travel and accommodation, and businesses can plan for summer tourism.
People will also be able to come into Auckland from all over the country.
Police will check that people are following the rules. They already have random spot checks on the road to check for road safety. For example, sometimes police may stop cars and check that the car is registered, that the driver has a license, and so on. Now they will do the same with checking Covid-19 travel documents. If someone is traveling without their documents, they will have to pay $1,000 as punishment. This is called an infringement fine.
On the roads to Northland, Police will cooperate with Iwi to make sure that the checks are strong and fair. It is quite likely that the local people will want to have permanent check points rather than random spot checks. This is because Northland has a low vaccination rate so far, and the local people are very worried about visitors bringing the virus into their communities. Often during lockdown, local iwi have helped the police to run check points, and sometimes they have run their own check points.
Those who want to visit the South Island can only get there by taking the inter-islander ferry, or by taking a plane. (If you want to read about the few people who have swum the Cook Strait, you can read about it here.) For this reason, it will be easy for the inter-islander and airline staff to insist that all passengers are vaccinated or tested. This will help to keep the South Island safe.
Sometime around the 29th of November, New Zealand’s alert system will change to the traffic light system. Auckland will move straight into Red level, the highest level in the traffic light.
Areas with lower vaccination rates will also be at Red level. This is safer than Alert Level 2 because it will do more help to stop the spread of the virus.
The government expects that by mid-December about 90% of New Zealanders will be fully vaccinated.
vaccination certificate: a document that proves you have been fully vaccinated
negative test: the results of a Covid-19 test that shows you do not have the virus
confidently: with confidence, without fear
random spot checks: temporary, unpredictable road blocks, so that people going through are checked for travel documents
cooperate: work together, help each other
Iwi: Maori tribes
permanent check points: road blocks that stay in place every day so that people going through are checked for travel documents