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“We did well the last time around, but it is more important than ever that we do well this time.”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher is urging Waitaki residents to follow the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 rules and guidelines set by the Government, after the country went into lockdown at 11.59pm on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a nation-wide lockdown, following a positive community case of Covid-19. Auckland and the Coromandel have moved to Level 4 for at least seven days, while the rest of the country is in lockdown until at least 11.59pm tonight. There were no further updates on what would happen after that when the Oamaru Mail went to print.

“It’s really about people being sensible,” Mr Kircher said.

To keep safe, people should wear masks, maintain a social distance, only go out if it was necessary, wash their hands regularly, and keep listening to the regular updates, he said. It was also important to check in with elderly relatives and neighbours to make sure they were OK.

But the ultimate way to look after the community at large was by following the rules individually, Mr Kircher said.

He understood it had been a long time since the last lockdown, but said it was a matter of getting back into the rhythm of things.

If lockdown was to be extended, people should be prepared, but understand that the necessary services, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, would still be open.

“I know this has been used a lot over the last 18 months, but it really is about being kind,” he said.

“We have to be thinking of others and be understanding that there are a lot of things going on in different people’s lives.”

Lockdown could be an unsettling time for a lot of people, but there was help out there, Mr Kircher said.

“The help is there and we have been through this before.”

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said people needed to be aware of lockdown rules, and protect each other and their own mental health.

“Being in lockdown can be quite hard on your mental health, so make sure you’re taking the time to look after yourself.”

During last year’s Level 4 lockdown, the majority of Waitaki residents were “awesome”, Snr Sgt McCoy said.

He encouraged people to continue that behaviour through this lockdown, and be understanding of the situations different people were in.

“[Have] patience at the supermarket – we don’t want to have any issues there.”

The police station was closed to the public during Level 4, but police officers were on duty as essential workers, and the community could call the station if needed, or 111 in the event of an emergency.

“We’ll be making sure everything’s tickety-boo.”

Alert Level 4

  • Everyone must now stay home.
  • Masks mandatory inside any business or service open during Alert Level 4.
  • Practise 2m physical distancing and good hygiene.
  • You can go for a walk, run or bike in your local area on your own, or in your household bubble.