Flights, trains and ferries are highly likely to be cancelled in the wake of New Zealand moving up alert levels. Here is what you need to know for travel in Auckland and around the country.
Travel in Auckland
From 6am Sunday, Auckland will move to alert level 3. Aucklanders should not travel outside the region –police checkpoints will be in place.
“People should work from home unless that is not possible,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Schools can open for parents that need to be at work. Otherwise, children are asked to stay at home. Supermarkets and pharmacies will continue to stay open.
* Covid 19: What alert level 2 means for travellers in Auckland
* Covid-19 travel restrictions: Flights and trains cancelled, new ferry bookings suspended
* Coronavirus: What the extended lockdown means for travellers
In Auckland, you are able to travel locally if you are accessing essential services, going to work, or exercising. You are also strongly encouraged to wear face masks when leaving home.
Aucklanders should not travel to another region by any means unless they are essential workers travelling for work. Exemptions that were granted from the 3-day lockdown earlier this month will be automatically reinstated.
Public transport will continue to operate in New Zealand’s biggest city, but passengers should maintain physical distancing and wear a mask. You are only able to use public transport in Auckland for the following reasons:
- accessing local services and businesses
- going to work or school, but only if you cannot stay at home
- low-risk exercise in your local area
- visiting people in your bubble
- travelling to permitted gatherings.
The rest of New Zealand
Outside of Auckland, the rest of New Zealand is at alert level 2 from 6am Sunday. That means you are able to continue travelling domestically, aside from trips to Auckland (unless you are travelling to/from home).
When travelling domestically at alert level two you should keep records of services you use, keep track of who you have been in contact with, keep a distance of groups of people you don’t know, and you must legally wear a face mask on all public transport.
The Ministry of Health also recommends you minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination and use the Covid-19 tracer app at all times.
Of course, anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or awaiting test results should not travel at all, no matter where they live.
Like previous lockdowns, the national carrier will offer credits and flexibility for all customers impacted by alert level changes.
Its website says “To give you full flexibility, we are waiving change fees and extending credit opt-in for domestic flights due to depart before 31 March 2021.”
It has not yet updated its current schedule, although cancellations into and out of Auckland over the next 7 days are certain – previous lockdowns saw dozens of services cancelled. “We are working through updating our information as a priority, and we ask that you check back later.”
If you wish to cancel a domestic flight and get a credit, you can do so for any trips that depart before 31 March 2021. You cancel the flight through this online tool.
What if I have an upcoming flight in Auckland?
The Ministry of Transport is yet to update its advice for this latest outbreak, however during the last alert level 3 lockdown earlier this month you could still drive, bus or train into Auckland if you were heading to the airport to go overseas or catch another domestic flight home. Likewise, air passengers could transit through Auckland Airport, as long as they didn’t exit the terminal.
You are free to fly around New Zealand if you live outside of Auckland. For example, flights from Wellington to Queenstown, or Hamilton to Christchurch are still allowed.
Is the Interislander ferry still running?
InterIslander and Bluebridge services are expected to run, but there could be some cancellations and increased hygiene measures onboard. Updated information is expected in the coming hours.
What about Northland?
The only way in and out of Northland is via Auckland, so is the region effectively stranded?
The Ministry of Transport says you can travel through Auckland (eg from Waikato to Whāngarei) – but only if you are travelling home. You will be stopped, so it’s best to carry proof.
You can also use a bus service transiting through Auckland – but once again only if you are travelling to your primary place of residence.
More to come…