Aucklanders have been all but promised more freedoms from the end of the month, with a move to the new traffic light system.
Cabinet will decide on 29 November if vaccination rates are high enough but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on current progress there was a strong expectation Auckland would abandon current restrictions near that date.
Under the new system, even at red, businesses, including hospitality, can open with vaccine certificates, number limits and distancing. For the unvaccinated though, heavy restrictions remain.
In the meantime, Auckland moves to alert level 3 step 2 from midnight, while upper Northland drops to level 2 from 11.59pm on Thursday.
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