Will we be able to just ‘go for a drive’ when NZ shifts down a gear to Level 3?
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When, where and for what reason we’re able to drive our cars has been a much-talked-about aspect of New Zealand’s current Covid-19 lockdown.
Under Level 4 restrictions, Kiwis are only able to use a private car to access essential services like food or medication, or as part of essential work.
It does show how ingrained the idea of freedom of movement by private car is in NZ culture.
We can’t seem to give it up, even for a few weeks to help combat a global health crisis.
The lockdown report card is looking good though, and many are looking ahead to a downgrade of NZ’s Covid-19 Alert Level.
The Prime Minister has already announced the Government will make a decision on when that might happen on April 20 (the initial four-week lockdown runs until April 23).
The (fuel) burning question for many will be whether we can use our cars in relative freedom under Level 3.
The publically available alert level information provided by the Government isn’t specific. For the record, Level 3 means there’s still “heightened risk that the disease is not contained”.
That means public venues will remain closed, not all schools might be open and alternative working arrangements remain in place, with “some” non-essential businesses remaining shut.
There’s nothing specific about private motor vehicle use, although suggested measures do include “travel in areas with clusters or community transmission [being] limited”.
So, when we get to Level 3, can we just… go for a drive?
We asked the Minstry of Health about this and other motoring related matters, such as the potential for car dealerships and servicing outlets to be open for general business.
According a spokesperson, there are already “broad parameters for what is permitted at different alert levels, and the Government is working on further guidance for lower alert levels for when New Zealand transitions.”
And that’s it.
So we don’t really know, and more to the point the Government probably hasn’t really decided. The new rules will no doubt depend on the Covid-19 situation nearer April 20.
This is a time for fast political decisions, not fast cars. But we’ll keep you posted.