Lockdown a time to appreciate family and Whaingaroa – police

Embrace the coronavirus lockdown – look at it as an opportunity to enjoy your family and your neighbourhood during these next few weeks.

That was the message from Raglan Police on Monday after a weekend in which they say locals “by and large did a great job” complying with the country’s lockdown requirements.

Senior Constable Raewyn Stevenson told the Chronicle she saw lots of people out and about both walking and biking, enjoying the last of summer with a safe two-metre distance between their respective “bubbles”.  And car traffic was noticeably down.

“I hope families embrace this lockdown for the opportunity it is,” she added. It was a time for local families to appreciate each other in their home patch.

“Let’s look at things in a positive light and follow the rules.”

Local police were still doing drive-arounds, she said, patrolling the township and the beaches.

But with fewer callouts in an uncharacteristically empty Raglan – all but shut down last week as alert level four kicked in – the focus now for local police was on educating people in the ever-changing climate that was Covid-19, and encouraging compliance for their own and everyone’s safety.

Senior Constable Stevenson was appalled to come across two cases last Sunday of people having driven out from Hamilton – a group picnicking at Papahua Domain and one male surfing at Manu Bay. “They were educated (about the right thing to do) and requested to leave which they eventually did.”

The overall message was simple, she said – to “stay home and stay local”, apart from the occasional trip to access essential services like a supermarket, pharmacy or gas station. “Stop trying to find reasons to go out.”

Police said people should also be checking www.covid19.govt.nz regularly themselves.

* While some have gone out to catch a wave in spite of the coronavirus lockdown from Thursday last week, Raglan Point Boardriders chair Luke Hughes was clear in a statement that surfing was flouting the rules.

It was as much about the driving to a surf spot – which was considered non-essential travel –  as the pressure it would put on emergency services if anything went wrong, he said.

“Please do not surf at Manu Bay, Whale Bay, Ngarunui Beach or even Ruapuke for the following four weeks.”

Edith Symes