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What will and won't be allowed at alert level 2 will be decided today but hopes the country might get there as early as next Wednesday are in jeopardy because of fears Kiwis have become too complacent in level 3.
Health officials are concerned about the numbers of people being caught for level-3 breaches and are warning that there may well be a delay to the introduction of level 2.
Kiwis won't be told the specifics of level-2 rules until later in the week. Among the most critical issues being determined by the Government at today's Cabinet meeting is how far to open up domestic travel.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today that "theoretically" the country could move to level 2 as early as Wednesday next week if Cabinet signs it off on Monday - meaning a 15-day stint in level 3.
And Ardern indicated today the wage subsidy scheme would be extended for some sectors after the 12-week period expires.
"Our view is we need to be more targeted at the point it runs out in June. At that point there will be more businesses more affected ongoing than others. At level 2, larger events, conferences, music events ... they are all still in a very difficult position.
"We are looking to target more directly those in that category of not being able to operate in the same way."
After reports of Kiwis getting complacent, health chief Ashley Bloomfield warned that unless people stick to alert level 3 rules, a move down to level 2 could be delayed.
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There were just two new cases of Covid-19 announced yesterday, both household contacts of an employee at the St Margaret's Hospital and Rest Home in Auckland.
There were no new deaths and 85 per cent of the total 1487 confirmed and probable cases have now recovered.
Bloomfield said the latest numbers were encouraging but shouldn't be taken for granted.
Reports of complacent behaviour over the weekend weren't good enough and it could ultimately slow a move to alert level 2, he said.
Since the introduction of alert level 3, police have received 1200 reports of mass gatherings breaching the rules - more than half in the 24 hours from 6pm on Friday.
Bloomfield said there was no longer any excuse for ignorance.
"We're now nearly a week into level 3, and while there could be some excuses early on, everyone should now be more familiar with the rules, both around increased retail activity and our own social interactions," Bloomfield said.
"Continuing to be vigilant will be key in supporting a move down to level 2 as soon as possible."
The caution comes as Cabinet is set to decide what can and can't happen in detail
under alert level 2.
On Friday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the Government was spending "a lot of time" getting exact clarity on balancing as much economic activity as possible with public health guidelines.
"Those decisions will be made and announced in the very near future."
One of the key issues will be domestic travel, with the tourism industry saying waiting until alert level 1 would put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa said businesses needed to start taking domestic winter bookings as soon as possible before they're mothballed before New Zealand's border opens to international tourists.
Robertson said the Government would look at how to ensure travel was safe and didn't become a vector for further infection.
"We do know that travel has been an issue in terms of transmission of the virus, and so we have to make decisions that uphold our public health guidelines. But we absolutely understand that for domestic tourism, particularly, that's the lifeline for the tourism industry."
The high-level advice on the Covid-19 website says, in level 2, businesses and public spaces can open with 1m distancing but all non-essential domestic travel should be avoided.
Only gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors are permitted with records of attendees and, again, only if people can physically distance.
Meanwhile, the brand which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Carl's Jnr has seen sales at some of its chains rise to levels higher than those before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Restaurant Brands said some KFC stores were eaten out of stock because, while the outlets were ready, the supply chain wasn't prepared for the massive spike in demand.
'Tenuous' link to Cook Islands
A Nelson woman with Covid-19 who flew from the Cook Islands five weeks ago is a "tenuous" link to the Pacific nation which has declared itself free of the coronavirus.
The woman, in her 30s, flew from the Cook Islands on flight NZ5957 on March 26 but last week was confirmed as a case of Covid-19.
Cook Islands secretary of health Dr Aumea Herman said as the woman departed five weeks before being diagnosed, she was well outside the recognised 14 day incubation period.
"I will be contacting public health officials in New Zealand to investigate any evidence for a link to the Cook Islands, although based on current information, I consider the link tenuous."
The Cook Islands declared itself free of Covid-19 on April 16 after testing 10 per cent of its population and every test returning a negative result.