New Zealand will reopen its borders to returning citizens from mid-January but international visitors will have to wait until late April before being allowed to enter without quarantine.
The nation’s COVID-19 opening plan was released on Wednesday with COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins outlining a cautious pathway forward that places it around six months behind its nearest neighbor Australia.
Under the plan, fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers can travel to New Zealand from Australia without quarantine from from 11.59pm on Sunday 16 January 2022 and from other countries from 11.59pm on Sunday 13 February 2022. However, fully vaccinated tourists will only be allowed to enter New Zealand without quarantine from 30 April 2022.
“Closing our border was one of the first steps we took to keep our country safe from COVID-19 and it’ll be the last thing we open up, following our transition into the traffic light protection framework system and lifting of the Auckland boundary,” Hipkins said.
“We are making this announcement today to give families, businesses, visitors and airline and airport companies certainty and time to prepare. It’s very encouraging that as a country we are now in a position to move towards greater normality.”
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming earlier this week, New Zealand’s only casino operator, SkyCity Entertainment Group, is planning to reopen its flagship property, SkyCity Auckland, from 3 December when the nation reverts to a new traffic light system around its COVID-19 classification.
But it will have to wait for a few more months to implement its new international business model after announcing it would cease dealing with junkets in response to the regulatory issues faced by Australia’s Crown Resorts over the past 12 months.
SkyCity’s international business had driven turnover of NZ$14.1 billion in 2019 however CEO Michael Ahearne said it would in future operate under a “revised operating model where SkyCity will deal directly with patrons after appropriate ‘know your customer’ and customer financial due diligence requirements are satisfied.”