A survey has shown overwhelming support to close Coromandel Peninsula borders during the Covid-19 shutdown as out-of-towners flock to their holiday homes before Easter.
The CFM Coromandel Facebook survey, which has now ended, showed 83 per cent of more than 2000 respondents believed Coromandel roads should be closed during the period of the level 4 lock down to prevent unnecessary strain on essential services.
Since the survey, Police have set up checkpoints to question motorists about their travel plans and reinforcing what Alert Level 4 restrictions meant for everyone.
A Police spokesperson said Police would continue to have a high visibility presence in communities across the Easter weekend break.
“The rules are clear – everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence, except for essential travel like grocery shopping, or going to the doctor,” the spokesperson said.
Any reports or instances of people breaching the Alert Level 4 restrictions will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
“Our first step is to educate. We will speak to people, ask them what they are doing, talk to them about keeping safe, and if they continue to break the rules, Police will use their discretion to give them a warning, or if necessary they could be arrested.
“We know and recognise that what we are asking New Zealanders to do is challenging and we thank you for your continued efforts. Our message remains the same – stay home, save lives.”
Thames Coromandel District Council says there had been a marked increase in traffic recently – particularly during the hours of darkness, on both sides of the Coromandel Peninsula, along with many reports of holiday homes being occupied, which is not the norm for this time of year.
Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie said an influx of visitors during the shutdown period would put too much pressure on essential services.
“The capacity of our medical and other essential services is not the same as the larger centres. If we get a cluster of sick people outside of our usual permanent population, our medical facilities will struggle,” she said.
The message was clear – stay home and save lives, she said.
“Home is not your second holiday home, it’s your permanent place of residence.
“Thank you to the large number of our residents who are abiding by the guidelines, however those that continue to disregard the guidelines to suit themselves by fishing, boating, swimming, surfing, exercising far from home, driving around for no particular reason, and so on, are placing unnecessary added stress on the rest of our community.
“We’re all in this together and need to take this seriously. This is not a holiday and it’s likely measures will stay in place for a number of weeks.”
Information and guidelines during the Covid-19 alert level four shutdown can be found at covid19.govt.nz.
If you suspect a business or individual is breaching the guidelines, you can report them by calling the non-emergency number – 105. More information at police.govt.nz/105support. Do not call 111 unless it’s an emergency.