Anger in Auckland over apparent bubble breaches

Aucklanders at the beach on the first Saturday of level 3. Photo: NZ Herald
Aucklanders at the beach on the first Saturday of level 3. Photo: NZ Herald
More than 30 people have been seen playing touch rugby in an Auckland park, while crowds of people, some unmasked, have also been seen in other parts of the city - including the city's most high-profile shopping street and a popular beachside suburb - on the first weekend since the Covid-19 alert level was lowered.

Under level 3 contactless retail outlets, including takeaways, are able to open but people are still expected not to mix with people outside their household bubble.

A sunny Saturday proved too tempting for some though, including 32 people spotted playing touch rugby on Margaret Griffin Reserve in Mt Roskill late this morning.

A witness told The New Zealand Herald she called 111 three times to report the rule breach, and two police officers arrived on the scene about half an hour later.

No one was arrested and everyone dispersed about five minutes later, the witness said.

"I was shaking ... I was so angry. I know people who are losing their businesses [because of lockdowns].

"How are people misunderstanding [level 3 rules], or is it that people know but don't care?"

The police officers told her they could, at this stage, educate, not arrest those involved.

A police spokeswoman said they didn't have anyone available to speak about level 3 compliance in Auckland today.

The media team were not aware of any specific breaches of level 3 in Auckland this weekend, she said.

People on Tamaki Dr in Auckland today. Photo: NZ Herald
People on Tamaki Dr in Auckland today. Photo: NZ Herald
Meanwhile, there were also reports of crowds on one of Auckland's most popular shopping streets - even though only contactless retail is allowed under level 3.

"Ponsonby Rd is absolutely heaving with people," a woman told the Herald just after noon.

"I even saw the Footlocker [store] letting people try on shoes outside the shop."

And at Takapuna Beach Cafe there were "very few masks or social distancing" as people waited for coffee and ice cream, a man told the Herald.

Similar scenes were reported at Mission Bay.

"Thought you guys might be interested in how busy Mission Bay beach is today," a person said in an email to the Herald.

"Can't find a car park to save your life, and there's not much mask-wearing going on."

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