By air, land or sea, this island nation is now fully open to visitors
New Zealand, finally, is once again fully open to visitors from around the world.
The country closed its borders when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020 and has essentially remained that way ever since. New Zealand then began to reopen its borders gradually, first in February to welcome fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other visa holders home, then in May to welcome tourists from more than 50 countries. , including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
New Zealand then relaxed its last restrictions on Sunday evening July 31, now allowing visitors who needed visas and students.
“It was a huge moment yesterday when the final stage of the full reopening of the New Zealand border to the world was completed,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech. “This has been a step-by-step and careful process on our part since February as we, alongside the rest of the world, continue to manage a very lively global pandemic, while keeping our people safe.”
Ardern went on to add “To those looking to make the journey, ‘haere mai’, we welcome you.”
There are, as you would expect, requirements for vaccination against COVID-19. There is also a testing requirement for tourists traveling to New Zealand.
Here’s what you need to know if a trip to New Zealand is in your plans.
Traveling to New Zealand
Most travelers must meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements to enter New Zealand. This is because anyone aged 17 or over who is not a New Zealand citizen, resident or Australian citizen living in New Zealand must be vaccinated.
Travelers must also have a digital vaccination certificate or other form of electronic or paper documentation from a government health authority or approving authority evidencing that they have completed a full course on the COVID-19 vaccine.
You can find out more about the vaccination requirements for traveling to New Zealand on the country’s official website.
Second, most travelers entering New Zealand will be required to take a COVID-19 test. Travelers will receive a pack of rapid antigen tests (RATs) upon arrival in New Zealand, along with instructions on how to use the tests. These tests should be taken on the day of arrival and on day 5 or 6 after arrival in New Zealand.
If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19, then they must take a PCR test and self-isolate for 7 days. It is the responsibility of the traveler to find a place to isolate themselves.
You can find more information about testing requirements in New Zealand on the official COVID website.
What it looks like in New Zealand now
New Zealand is operating using a “traffic light” framework of pandemic measures. Currently, the whole country is in an “amber light” phase. Here’s what that means.
Visitors can travel freely within New Zealand, including by public transport, taxi and carpooling. In addition, under the “orange light” status, there are no physical distancing requirements on public transport, nor at bus stops or train stations.
However, a face mask is required on all flights, on public transport, as well as in taxis and ride-sharing services.
Next, controlled-access events that involve ticketing or registration, such as cinemas, concert halls, private galleries, sporting events and stadiums, are now open with no capacity limit. Wearing a mask is not compulsory during these events.
Public facilities, such as libraries, public galleries and museums, are also now open with no capacity limit. Face masks are required in these settings.
Finally, hospitality venues, such as cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, are also open with no capacity limit. Although a face covering is not required in these venues, it is encouraged.
You can find out more about “Life at Orange” in New Zealand here.
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