Date: 12 May 2020
New Zealanders will be able to enjoy more of the great outdoors when the country moves into Alert Level 2, but they'll need to take more responsibility for hygiene and cleaning, says the Department of Conservation.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced New Zealand will transition to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May. New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 3.
"This is a very positive development and will come as a relief to the thousands of New Zealanders who have wanted to get into the great outdoors," DOC's Director of Heritage and Visitors, Steve Taylor says.
At Alert Level 2, all DOC facilities, including huts and campsites will reopen for public use, but it's not quite business as usual.
To maintain the government's guidelines for gatherings, bookable accommodation is capped to 10 people and there should be no more than 10 people at any of the larger non-bookable huts.
"At all huts appropriate physical distancing is required – people should bring a tent to be certain," Steve Taylor says.
"It's important under Alert Level 2 that visitors take responsibility for their own health and hygiene. We all need to look out for each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"DOC will undertake our normal checks of facilities, which does include some cleaning, however we are asking visitors to be prepared to clean surfaces before they use them and leave the facilities fit for other users."
This means visitors will need to carry their own cleaning equipment in and out of the area they visit.
Visitors are also responsible for being able to trace their own contacts during their visit. This includes letting a trusted contact know your intentions and putting your details in hut intentions books.
DOC's bookable accommodation system will be open from 10 am Thursday.
Hunting is also able to resume on public conservation land. Recreational hunters will be able to apply online for a hunting permit from 5pm tonight.
Concessionaires and community groups are welcomed back to public conservation land provided they can operate safely and follow Ministry of Health guidelines. Tourism concessionaires need an updated WorkSafe plan to respond to COVID-19. Community groups will also need to update their health and safety plans.
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