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New Zealand gives green light to business events of up to 100 people

May 15, 2020 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In a positive step that business event organisers in Australia are watching with keen interest, the New Zealand Government has confirmed that ticketed large events, including domestic business events and conferences can now go ahead with a 100-person limit.

The move – which follows New Zealand’s easing of restrictions on social gatherings and travel this week – requires one-metre distancing and contact tracing.

Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says the industry welcomes clarity on numbers from the NZ government, and the acknowledgement that business events should be viewed differently to social gatherings.

“This helps the New Zealand business events sector restart for domestic attendees, and is the first step in the right direction. We look forward to the government’s next review of restrictions in two weeks’ time,” she says.

The current caps across all aspects of New Zealand business and social gatherings are for the first stage of Alert Level Two and will be revisited on 25 May.

New guidelines for New Zealand state that large ticketed events and business events must be seated, they must allow for contact tracing, have physical distancing in place, good hygiene procedures, and any food and drink must meet the hospitality provisions.

“We understand the cap on numbers is set by the Ministry of Health based on the ability of public health to be managed in the case of an outbreak, including contact tracing, isolation and critical care facilities.

An increase in a cap from 100 attendees to 200 attendees, for example, is exponential in risk – the contract tracing requirements alone following on from an event becomes much greater, so caps are set at a level where safety can be managed from a public health perspective.

CINZ chief executive Lisa Hopkins

“The Ministry has confirmed this is not a reflection on the ability of event organisers to mitigate risk or fail to do so. It is about allowing New Zealand to keep stamping out COVID-19. Keeping numbers low, for now, will help New Zealand be able to respond swiftly and effectively and possibly prevent an increase in restrictions by doing so,” she says.

“From here, the cap may increase in phases, although we don’t have any certainty around if or when these phases might begin, which of course makes planning extremely difficult.”

There is still no timeframe for when Alert Level 1 will come into place. New Zealand’s Government has pledged it will continue to support the events sector in any ongoing discussions about this.

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