Hamilton couple out walking told to go home


A Hamilton woman wants to know what people can and can’t do after her parents were told to go home by police while out walking.

As the country began its first day of a minimum four-week Covid-19 lockdown, Kirstin McNabb told The New Zealand Herald her parents, aged 68 and 74, were going for a walk around Hamilton Lake about 11am today when they were stopped by officers.

• Covid19.govt.nz: The Government’s official Covid-19 advisory website

“They live on Lake Rd so were going for a walk around the lake ... they pulled them over and told them that they had to go home and Dad said, ‘Well i thought we were still allowed to walk', and they said that was at alert level 3, we’re now at alert level 4.

“Nobody else, bar one person [that I’ve spoken to] is of the opinion that that’s the case.”

Alert level 4 restrictions mean people need to stay at home, schools and universities will be closed, as well as non-essential businesses, major reprioritisation of health services, and air travel and public transport will only be for essential services.

The only reasons people can go out is it they need to do a supermarket and/or pharmaceutical run, works for an essential business or do outdoor activities like gardening or going for a walk in their local area.

The couple were walking near Hamilton Lake when stopped by police. Photo: Hamilton District Council
The couple were walking near Hamilton Lake when stopped by police. Photo: Hamilton District Council

At yesterday’s press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put it simply, “act like you have Covid-19” and stay home.

She said police will be moving around the country and asking questions of those outside of their homes.

People without a valid reason to be outside can be reminded of their obligations, she said.

However, she added that people just getting fresh air should be able to without being told to go home by police, and some common sense was needed in their approach.

McNabb said another friend had sent a photo of himself out walking, being seen by police, but was never questioned.

As well as that, she’d been getting conflicting reports about who she could go walking with.

“There’s four of us in my bubble. So, some people are of the opinion that I can only go for walks with myself and then other people are of the opinion that you can only go for walks with people in your bubble. there’s no clarity around that either."

A police spokesperson said all non-essential workers were now in lockdown.

“Restrictions include remaining at home, you can still go outside but you must remain within your neighbourhood.”

As for what self-isolation meant, the spokesperson said “it means stay at home”.

“The Government has asked all New Zealanders to stay at home to help stop the spread of Covid-19.”

However, people could leave their house to access essential services including buying groceries, or going to a bank or pharmacy, going to work for an essential service, or “going for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature within your neighbourhood”.

“If you do leave your house, you must keep a two-metre distance from other people at all times.

“This will enable outbreaks of Covid-19 to be contained within areas.”

If you travel outside this area you are placing other lives at risk.

 

Comments

Common sense. Cavil at the rules or get with the programme.

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