Fears in the south as Aucklanders flee lockdown

A resident of Wānaka begs Aucklanders to take Alert Level 4 rules seriously and to avoid leaving the area during the lockdown.

Natasha Dawes says she got a reservation for her Airbnb property from a family in Auckland on Wednesday evening, the first day of the lockdown. When she refused them and stressed that they were not supposed to travel far from home, they told her that their flight was confirmed and that they would arrive in Wānaka the next day.

Dawes declined the reservation and said the family were “very angry” with her. After posting about it on the local Facebook group, she assumes that someone who knows them sent them a screenshot of their post because, she says, they started sending her “offensive messages.”

“I actually reported them,” she said The New Zealand Herald.

“I thought that was the only responsible thing to do. I know there would be a lot of other Airbnb options in Wānaka that people might not ask the right questions and that would have allowed them to travel. really irresponsible of them. “

Dawes took to the local community’s Facebook page to ask Wānaka not to “be complacent”.

“I just got a call to try to book my Airbnb starting tomorrow,” she posted Wednesday night.

“I asked them where they are currently as they are not supposed to move as we entered the level 4 lockdown last night. They are in Auckland. Flights are booked tomorrow for Queenstown and plan to stay at Wānaka. They said their flights are definitely They usually spend half the week in Auckland for their children’s schooling and half the week in Wānaka at one of the stations (which closed last night) for them. Children’s ski races in the winter. So theoretically they can do it – like everyone else did 48 hours to get back to where they live. “

Dawes told the Herald she worries that other people who rent properties don’t ask the questions and find out that the people who rent them shouldn’t be visiting the city.

“Covid is no joke,” she said. “I hope people think about the big picture and respect that any non-essential movement in Lock 4 is unacceptable. They could spread it. They could pick it up on their own along the way. Just stay home. “she said.

She reported the matter to police as a lockdown violation and hopes others have done the same, as community safety is key to breaking out of the lockdown.

“The reason I posted the post on the local Facebook page is that far too many people are complacent here and think they are so far from Auckland that there is little risk here,” he said. she declared.

“I wanted to show them how apparently easy it is for people in the affected areas to enter. And hopefully encourage more hand washing, mask wear and care here. take this more seriously.

“I only seriously did [report them] because I thought – what if it’s the one with Covid that comes to wanaka and starts it here? “

Dawes believes there is a “massive loophole” in the foreclosure rules that many people are trying to take advantage of.

“All the empty vacation homes in Wanaka and Queenstown – they get flocked when the closures happen.

“People shouldn’t be allowed to travel just for their leisure and the convenience of going to their favorite place. Or what is the lock for? “

Police confirmed they received a report yesterday “from someone possibly considering violating the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions.”

Travel permitted only for “essential reasons” or to return home

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet’s Department (DPMC) said that under Alert Level 4 rules, “people should only travel to return home or for essential reasons.”

“We need everyone’s support to protect New Zealand and eliminate Covid-19. A travel window has been left open allowing people to return home, after this period additional measures could be put in place to ensure that people travel only for essential reasons. “

According to the spokesperson, under the current restrictions, everyone “must now stay at home and cannot travel within the country for any reason other than returning to their place of residence or for essential reasons, such as get food or medicine, or go to work if you are an Alert Level 4 “worker.

New Zealanders away from home have until 11:59 p.m. tonight to return home, with the exception of trips from Queenstown and on the Cook Strait Ferry, which has an additional 24 hours until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow.

Auckland lockdown exodus described as “selfish and appalling”

Several people have reportedly left their homes in Auckland since Alert Level 4 began.

North of Auckland, the mayor of Whangārei, Sheryl Mai, has denounced the Aucklanders who continue to move north in an attempt to pass containment away from the city.

Mai said anecdotal evidence pointed to Aucklanders again heading north en masse ahead of Tuesday night’s Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown.

“In the situation we are facing, even an Aucklander is one too many,” said Mai.

She said it put the Northlanders, in their home, in danger.

This was particularly the case with the more contagious Delta strain confirmed in the first Devonport case, identified on Tuesday.

“Think again, this is our home, you stay home,” Mai said.

“It is clear that the cases [identified this week] are based in Auckland. People who come from Auckland may not even know they’ve been exposed to the virus before they leave.

“I just hope no one has come here feeling sick. It’s even worse.”

Mai said the lockdown rules were there for a reason, to protect people and stop the virus from spreading.

The group behind last year’s Covid checkpoints said they counted up to 500 cars per hour heading north on State Highway 1 on Tuesday evening.

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