How do Australia’s restrictions compare with NZ’s strict lockdown
New Zealand’s level four coronavirus lockdown has been strict. Here are some of the differences with Australia
Posted April 20, 2020 14:26:12
New Zealanders have been living under some pretty tough lockdown restrictions for almost a month.
And they’ve certainly been stricter than what’s happening here in Australia, where lockdown levels haven’t been clearly defined.
But after ramping up to level four restrictions (the toughest) on March 25, our cross-Tasman neighbours are set to wind those back next week.
From a ban on all takeaways to not being allowed to return a wayward ball to neighbours, here’s what those restrictions looked like in New Zealand, and how they compare to life in Australia right now.
How does shopping compare?
In New Zealand, the list of businesses that could physically stay open has been very limited — so that meant no quick stops at Kmart or popping to Bunnings for the general public.
Supermarkets, dairies (aka corner stores) and foodbanks were allowed to stay open, alongside pharmacies.
Butchers, bakers and fruit shops were told to close.
And if you wanted to go somewhere smaller (like a dairy or in one of the limited liquor stores allowed to keep trading), it was strictly one customer at a time.
Australia has allowed more stores to keep physically trading, including those big-box retailers, although many have started home delivery or click and collect services.
And while delivery services are still rolling out hot food takeaways to Australians, getting a takeaway curry, coffee or burger has been banned in New Zealand.
But not all hot food sales were forbidden. Pre-prepared sausage rolls and meat pies (not homemade) were still OK.
Was exercise allowed?
Going for a run with a friend, having a surf or a one-on-one PT session is OK in Australia, but they’ve been off the table for New Zealanders for some time.
Exercise buddies have been limited to people in the same household and any outdoor activities had to be local.
That ruled out driving to another suburb if you wanted to go to a particular beach or favourite dog park.
There was even this warning from the New Zealand Government’s COVID-19 website for anyone playing some backyard cricket:
"Just be careful your ball doesn’t go into the neighbour’s house as they won’t be able to touch it or return it."
And activities that might lead to injury or need help from emergency services (like hunting, hiking, swimming and surfing) were on the list of don’ts.
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What about meeting up with people?
New Zealanders would be familiar with the term ‘bubble’ as part of their lockdown lives.
That covered who you could have physical contact with, and it was largely limited to those living in the same house.
But that ‘bubble’ could be extended for people living alone.
So they could pick a solo person (or small households) in their area to join up with, but that’s it, that would be their ‘bubble’ under level four restrictions.
And meeting up with anyone outside that group has been forbidden (but contactless drop-offs of supplies to family and friends was OK).
In Australia, it still varies by state.
Generally, gatherings are capped at two people unless you live together — so you and a friend can go for a walk.
But in South Australia, that guideline is only "strongly encouraged", with up to 10 people allowed to meet up.
And Queenslanders can have two people who don’t live with them visit at a time.
But everyone must still stick to social-distancing guidelines of 1.5 metres and keep up those good hygiene practices.
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How about work?
If a business wasn’t providing essential services in New Zealand, they had to close.
Essential services covered the obvious like hospitals and supermarkets, but also included supply chains from cleaning to IT that were keeping these essential businesses running.
Non-essential businesses had to operate remotely from employees’ homes.
If they couldn’t, they had to close up.
And the list of essential businesses (and items) was kept pretty short.
If stores weren’t offering food, they could only offer something essential, and that had to be done online or over the phone.
So New Zealanders could still buy a kettle, blanket or some new headphones, but that had to be completely contactless.
Australia has a few more exemptions for businesses, but not a lot.
Hairdressers and barbers are still OK (with some strict social-distancing rules), while cafes, food courts and restaurants can offer takeaways.
Boot camps are allowed if they’re one-on-one, while real estate agents could still offer private inspections (open houses were a no-no).
And a lot of big retailers, from appliance stores to hardware outlets, have kept their doors open, but with extra contactless options like click and collect.
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What about schools?
When level four restrictions kicked off in New Zealand, all schools, early childhood centres and universities were shut down.
While essential workers in Australia can take their children to school or childcare, New Zealanders were asked to try and make their own plans within their ‘bubble’ group.
For anyone who couldn’t, the Government funded childcare workers to go into homes to care for any kids under 14.
School holidays were brought forward too but, like Victoria, New Zealand kids went back to school last week.
And they’re learning remotely.
While that’s the plan for a lot of Australian kids too, it varies by state.
Kids in the Northern Territory are physically back at school for term two, and so are kids in Western Australia, while Victorians are encouraged to keep students learning from home where they can.
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April 20, 2020 at 02:45PM