New Zealand, currently celebrating its remarkable status of being 21 days without a new COVID-19 case anywhere in the country and no current live cases, has announced that it is relaxing its border controls and will allow exemptions for certain workers and for partners of New Zealand citizens.
One interesting concession is to allow America’s Cup sailors into the country to enable them to prepare to compete against Emirates Team New Zealand in March 2021.
The opponents for the Kiwi team are from the UK and US, and both teams are bringing with them significant numbers of people. They’re not so much teams as small villages.
American Magic, for example will bring 102 workers and 104 family members into New Zealand. The INEOS Team UK will bring in 88 workers and 128 family members.
Significant investment has been made in Cup infrastructure
“The America’s Cup would not be able to go ahead unless these international syndicate teams are allowed entry into New Zealand,” said Economic development minister Phil Twyford. He emphasised that the government and Auckland city council had made significant investments in building infrastructure for the America’s Cup.
The most notable border rule change, which will be in place from the end of next week, removes the requirement for partners and dependents of New Zealand citizens and residents to travel together to return home.
It also establishes new ‘essential worker’ rules, aimed at bringing high-value workers for projects of national or regional significance into the country.
Falling into this category are the Americas Cup teams, as well as a film crew shooting the sequel to the movie Avatar.
Isolation requirements will still be in place
Despite the progress of the country’s efforts to contain the pandemic, all entrants into New Zealand will still be required to undertake 14 days of managed isolation or quarantine.
According to New Zealand officials, the virus would be considered eliminated after 28 days of no new cases.
The next step may be the implementation of the much-discussed Trans-Tasman Bubble between Australia and New Zealand. There have been mentions of this happening as soon as July, but the more realistic timeframe appear to be around September.