A red traffic light will give the green light for Aucklanders wanting to travel to Waiheke and Great Barrier/Aotea islands, the Government has confirmed.
Under the Covid-19 Protection Framework, also known as the traffic light system and soon to replace the alert level system, vaccinated Kiwis will be given more freedoms.
In the red light, which the Auckland region is expected to move to soon after November 29 - when Cabinet has signalled it will move the country from the alert level system to the traffic light system - the non-resident ban on travelling to Waiheke and Great Barrier/Aotea islands will end.
"The current restriction on non-resident travel to Waiheke Island and Great Barrier/Aotea Island will lift when Auckland shifts into the traffic light system", a Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Covid-19 Group spokeswoman told the Herald.
"The Prime Minister has said that will be soon after Cabinet's decision on the 29th of November."
Waiheke and Great Barrier/Aotea islands have been off-limits to non-resident Aucklanders
since early October, although residents of the two islands are allowed to visit the city to join another bubble or for recreation.
The move came after Waiheke Local Board wrote to the Government requesting a border following Auckland's move to level 3, which allowed people to travel freely within the Auckland region.
Waiheke, which has a permanent population of about 9500 but swells to 35,000 over summer, has limited medical services - with only one ambulance and no hospital - and the board feared the impact of an outbreak of Covid-19 on the island.
However, Waiheke Island Tourism Inc (WITI) chair Christina Hyde today welcomed the lifting of the border.
The group had been pushing for the border to be lifted urgently, saying the island had been the most locked-down place in New Zealand for the past 92 days and cut off from Auckland - its main customer base.
"This has been catastrophic for Waiheke hospitality and retail businesses."
With the island's vaccination rate at more than 90 per cent of first doses and more than 82 per cent second doses, Hyde couldn't understand why the border had to remain in place for so long.
"We feel forgotten by the Government and the Government doesn't understand that Waiheke's tourist economy cannot survive on support from locals alone."
WITI had received informal notice the border would lift when Auckland goes into the traffic light system and it was great to officially hear the border is coming down.
"This gives our customers confidence when making summer plans and they will be able to come to the island and businesses look forward to giving them a very warm Waiheke welcome."
Auckland's regional border will remain in place until December 15.