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Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Oamaru police and the Waitaki District Council are asking residents to treat Covid-19 Level 3 restrictions much the same as Level 4.

The nation entered Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday, which gave people extra freedoms.

“Level 3 has been described as Level 4 with takeaways,” Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said.

“We are not out of the woods yet, and taking proper precautions is still very important.”

Overall, Waitaki residents had done a “fantastic job” abiding by Level 4 restrictions, he said.

“With a good dose of luck and some fantastic work by most of our locals, Waitaki is still sitting on zero [Covid-19] cases,” he said.

“The locals who didn’t manage to get it right, thankfully failed to spread Covid-19. I’m very proud of the efforts made by so many in this difficult time.”

Generally, most council services were up and running in Level 3, but some would not restart until Level 2 or 1, Mr Kircher said. Council facilities, including the pool and library, remained closed.

Many Waitaki businesses were hurting from the lockdown, and not all would survive, Mr Kircher said.

“But we can help more of them survive, and minimise the loss of jobs by keeping it local – shop locally, spend your money as locally as possible, and look after the businesses and people who employ locals, and give back to the community.”

The council was supportive of Tourism Waitaki’s new domestic tourism campaign, launched this week.

“With around 75% of our previous visitor market consisting of New Zealanders, we have a strong base on which to grow domestic tourism,” Mr Kircher said.

“We will build on this strong foundation, and the council will work with our community to help grow our economy and our community again so that we come out of this even stronger and more resilient than we went into it.”

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru, said he was “disappointed” and “frustrated” that there had already been one breach of the Level 3 restrictions by Wednesday.

A 25-year-old Oamaru woman was arrested and charged with breach of bail when a vehicle in which she was a passenger failed to stop for police. It was eventually stopped by road spikes south of Alma after a high-speed pursuit in and around Oamaru about 2am.

“Let’s just abide with Alert Level 3,” Snr Sgt McCoy said.

“It’s pretty clear, so we just want people to be doing what they should be doing; nothing more, nothing less really. In general, people are.”