This week started with some wet weather, which was much needed, and hopefully more will come to give us a good start to spring.
The same can’t be said for Covid-19 though, as I am sure we have all had more than enough of that.
So, while the announcement at the start of the week that Auckland would stay at Alert Level 3 was completely understandable and the right thing to do, the decision to keep the rest of the country at Level 2 was not so understandable.
With no sign of Covid in the South Island, we must remain with the restrictions because people from Auckland may want to travel here, and businesses in the south may want them here.
We have to ask ourselves though, is that really what we want and is it worth it?
Is that the only solution to ensure Covid doesn’t spread to other parts of New Zealand?
I’m not so sure.
For us, it means we have to continue cancelling events and other gatherings over 100 people, disrupting so many of our normal routines because of the perceived risk.
I have been fully supportive of most of the restrictions that have been put in place so far, and I think we all understood the need for regions with new outbreaks being put under stronger restrictions.
We have seen the reasoning, and we have generally complied.
Even when this latest outbreak occurred, we had to accept some restrictions on us until we could be sure Covid was contained to the original region.
People had been travelling in and out of Auckland, so some time at Level 2 was required.
We have been recording our movements and many people have been getting tested if there has been any hint that they may have the virus.
We have reasonable certainty there isn’t any spread in the South Island.
Shouldn’t the strategy now be to keep restrictions on in the affected region so that it has minimal chance of spreading in the first instance?
Our economy may benefit from the ability of the Auckland population to travel around the country, spending money with businesses and helping them to employ people. But those same businesses are negatively affected by being in Level 2, with the restrictions it brings. And our community suffers with the cancellation of so many things – sports days and prizegivings, community events, club rugby finals, netball finals and so much more.
However, as they say, it is what it is.
We are in this situation and we have to live with it.
We will lobby for a different solution, but in the meantime we need to comply with the restrictions.
If people from the affected region are allowed to travel, then we have to keep ourselves and our communities safe.
That means following the rules, keeping social distancing, following proper cough-and-sneeze etiquette, and keeping a record of our movements.
We have been pretty awesome and beaten this virus once, and we will do it again.
Stay safe, Waitaki, and let’s keep looking out for each other.
- Gary Kircher is the Mayor for Waitaki.