A new health order under Alert Level 3 means that travel to Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier islands for recreation is prohibited unless you are a resident of either of the islands.
Both Waiheke and Aotea / Great Barrier local boards had advocated for border controls to protect the islands from community transmission of COVID-19.
Neither island has had a case of COVID-19 and with limited healthcare services in place combined with older populations, the new rule will help to reduce risk for the island’s residents, says Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley.
“Our board is greatly relieved and delighted that the Government has been so responsive to our unique situation.”
Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham is also relieved saying Aucklanders will be very welcome to visit at lower alert levels, but for now the border was a “huge relief”.
“In addition to a fragile healthcare system and an ageing population, we also have a large Māori Community. The more we can do to reduce the risks for our residents, the better.”
Chair Handley says both boards are now waiting for official vaccination rate data from the Auckland District Health Board.
“Until we get that, we aren’t in a position of knowing whether either island’s rate of vaccination is reaching levels that the Government considers minimum to open borders and relax controls.
“We can’t take risks in the meantime and the new rule gives us some protection.”
Councillor for Waitematā and Gulf Pippa Coom says the new rule is sensible.
“It’s heartening that the Government has recognised the vulnerability of both islands and has taken such swift steps to protect them.”
Find out more at the Ministry of Health’s Unite Against COVID-19 official website.