New Zealanders will be allowed to go fishing, surfing, hunting and hiking this week for the first time in more than a month as the country begins to ease its way out of a strict lockdown that successfully slowed the spread of the coronavirus.
Around 400,000 people will return to work after the country shifts its alert level down a notch at midnight on Monday, but shops and restaurants will remain closed as several social restrictions remain in place.
New Zealand’s 5 million residents were subjected to one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in response to the pandemic, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern closing offices, schools, bars and restaurants, including take away and delivery services, on March 26.
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Beaches, waterfronts and playgrounds were shut, effectively restricting people to their homes and short walks around their neighborhood.
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1:53NZ’s Ardern, ministers take 20% pay cut for six months due to coronavirus impact
NZ’s Ardern, ministers take 20% pay cut for six months due to coronavirus impact
Many businesses began preparations over the weekend to restart operations this week while maintaining ongoing social distancing rules.