Surfers greeted a spectacular sunrise in Christchurch, construction workers purchased their favorite espresso coffees and some lawmakers returned to Parliament in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, on Tuesday as some aspects of life began returning to normal.
The country had been in a strict lockdown for over a month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but those conditions were eased a little on Tuesday to allow some parts of the economy to restart as new infections wane.
Among those places to reopen were construction sites, as well as cafes and restaurants that sell takeaway coffees and food. People are still required to maintain social distancing and work from home if they can.
New Zealand recorded three new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing its confirmed total to 1,472, including 19 deaths.
About 75% of the economy was operating at Level 3, beginning Tuesday, and there were about 1 million New Zealanders at work, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, according to the daily New Zealand Herald.
Ardern's government has notified 35 new employment centers across the country to help job seekers, while work on many road and rail projects resumed after a month of complete lockdown.
She also allowed small businesses to operate "if they can do so safely." Traffic increased on New Zealand roads and highways soon after the restrictions were eased.
However, Ardern cautioned that there would not be "one point in time when the fight against COVID-19 will be over, and the recovery room of alert Level 3 didn't mean New Zealand was out of the woods."
"We will have to keep stamping COVID-19 out until there is a vaccine."
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