The government today announced a new “virtual lobby” system to book managed isolation vouchers from September 20 for Kiwis returning to New Zealand.
Approximately 3,000 rooms will be released from now until Christmas, thus ending the pause for those stranded overseas.
The lobby can be entered an hour before rooms are released, which will be from 8am (NZ time) on September 20.
Making the announcement this afternoon, Minister for the COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said the new ‘lobby’ system will not be “first-in, first-served” model and will “provide an equal chance of an invitation to book.”
Once people arrive on the website, the lobby will randomise people into a queue, and gradually allow people through the website to secure a room.
The lobby will make booking more transparent and will create a more level playing field for people trying to access the booking site. There is no limit on how many people can wait in the lobby.
From now on, people will be informed in advance when room releases are happening.
“We will continue to announce room releases in advance (at least 24-48 hours before the release) so people will know when to come back.”
Under the details of new system made available, people aspiring to book should “not grab any date”, but are advised to first “check the flight checker on the Managed Isolation Allocation System website”.
Once the room release starts, all of the people in the lobby will be automatically moved into a queue – this will be randomised. Applicants will be able to see their place in the queue.
As this is not a first-in, first-served model, it doesn’t matter what time you get to the website, as long as it is within one hour before the room release is due to start.
It is also advised not to arrive before the lobby opens.
If those booking cannot find an available date in the system that matches their flight arrival date, they will need to try again in the next room release.
Before the lobby opens, make sure all details that they enter in the system are accurate and up-to-date, including passport details.
People can only make one booking (for themselves or a group) per turn to enable more people to have an opportunity to secure a room.
The lobby uses a unique “browser cookie” to manage the queue process. Multiple tabs or new windows in the same browser can not be opened. Instead, they need to use different devices e.g. laptops, phones, desktop computers.
Each room release will be a new and independent event. At this stage, there will be no prioritisation for people who missed out in the last room release.
Lobby won’t be available for people wanting to travel from Australia.
Those who are overseas and need to travel to New Zealand urgently, they can apply for an emergency allocation instead of using this system.
For more details, click here