After days of lockdown, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country was ready to start gradually reopening from May 14, with businesses permitted to reopen across the country. To celebrate the announcement, the mayor of a city went bungee jumping.
New Zealanders are now permitted to visit retail stores, malls, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and public spaces, including playgrounds and gyms, from Thursday.
Taking a plunge above the picturesque Kawarau River, mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Jim Boult’s early morning jump was the first at the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Centre. It was the first since the seven-week lockdown and signalled the re-opening of the town’s tourism industry.
“I’m delighted to be able to mark the reopening of this facility, even if it means jumping off a bridge first thing in the morning,” Boult said, adding that it wasn’t his first experience of the adventure sport.
Saying that Queenstown is the country’s premier tourist destination, Boult stressed that in a post Covid-19 world focussing on domestic tourism would bring a much-needed boost to the local economy that would benefit thousands of locals.
“I look forward to welcoming visitors to our district from across the country,” he said.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister said on Monday that there would be a few measures and guidelines as the country headed for the ‘new normal’ with social distancing in place. Social gatherings should be kept small for now – 10 people or less, she said.
People in New Zealand celebrated the lockdown being lifted on social media and #Level2 trended.
Good morning Auckland. Happy Level 2! pic.twitter.com/Der2xUkN52
— Dylan Reeve 💤🥨 (@DylanReeve) May 13, 2020
— Matthew Chan (@matthewc1465) May 14, 2020
— Pat (@Pat_588) May 14, 2020
First day of #Level2 was spent at school. I didn’t realise how much I missed my classroom until I got there. The date you see on the whiteboard was the last time I was there. Looking forward to seeing my students on Monday! pic.twitter.com/Vmhuf9GjEI
— Tina (@NzMcKenzie) May 14, 2020
— Jess Timings (@JessTimings) May 14, 2020
New Zealand has ended lockdown and moved to Alert Level 2 today in a responsible way. We have had fewer than 5 cases a day for over 2 weeks, with a number of days of no new cases. Today I took my boat out with my best friend and it was a great day. Proud of NZ! #COVID19nz #Level2 pic.twitter.com/x6smfhK0HE
— Cathryn Bridges (@C_L_Bridges) May 14, 2020
— Jeff Pringle (@Jeff_Pringle) May 14, 2020
— Craig Norenbergs (@CraigNorenbergs) May 14, 2020
— Chang Hung-Duncan (@ChangHung23) May 14, 2020
— Katie Scotcher (@katiescotcher) May 14, 2020
Schools and bars will also be reopened later in May. Ardern said the changes will be reviewed in two weeks. According to the latest data, the country now has just 65 active cases and 2 people in hospital. No new cases were reported in the last five days.