After the New Zealand government reduced the COVID-19 alert level for much of the country, SkyCity Entertainment Group plans to reopen its casino and entertainment facilities in Hamilton and Queenstown this week.
This comes as Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield declared that as of midnight Tuesday, all of New Zealand, except Auckland, would be on alert level two. The warning level in Auckland will stay at four.
“These changes mean we’ll have one part of the country at level four and the rest at level two,” Arden said. “For the most part, that is workable with the hard boundaries we’ve set up, but it does pose challenges, particularly for Northland, who, essentially, become cut off from the rest of the country. I want to assure Northland that we are working through those issues.”
At alert level two, major modifications include requiring the use of face coverings on public transportation and within any retail establishments, as well as limiting the number of persons who can travel by bus, train, or ferry. Dedicated school transportation services are exempt from the new requirement.
When you’re on alert level four, you can only leave the house for important personal movements like grocery shopping, getting vital healthcare, getting a COVID-19 test or immunisation, exercising in your neighbourhood, or going to work if you can’t work from home.
Hamilton and Queenstown properties
SkyCity has announced that it would reopen its Hamilton and Queenstown properties in stages, with additional health and safety safeguards in place, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s current recommendations and rules for operating at alert level two.
While the larger SkyCity Queenstown site is set to return on September 8, 2021, the smaller Wharf Casino location remains closed as “ongoing border restrictions continue to have a detrimental effect on the local Queenstown economy in particular, which is largely dependent on tourism.”
However, while Auckland is at COVID-19 warning level four, the operator said its SkyCity Auckland property will remain closed.
In the country’s latest COVID media conference, Bloomfield said: “So there are 21 new community cases to report today; all are in the Auckland region. There is one additional case which is yet to be determined whether it is a border or a community case.
“So the total number of cases associated with the current outbreak is now 841, and, of those, 147 are now deemed to have recovered. Ongoing investigations by our public health units—in particular Auckland regional public health—has resulted in the total number of unlinked cases falling from 33 yesterday to 24 today. That work continues, and the number is expected to continue to fall.”