Covid-19 coronavirus: What level-4 lockdown means for you: Everyone asked to wear a mask when they leave home

• New Zealand is going into lockdown for three days from 11.59pm. Auckland and Coromandel will be in lockdown for seven days.
• A 58-year-old Devonport man tested positive today after visiting a GP yesterday. He was infectious from August 12.
• The man, who isn’t vaccinated, and his wife travelled to Coromandel over the weekend. His wife is fully vaccinated.
• There is no obvious link to the border at this stage.
• While results of genome testing won’t be back until tomorrow it is being treated as a Delta case.
• There are 23 locations of interest, 10 in Auckland and 13 in Coromandel.
• Testing centres open until 8pm tonight.

New Zealanders are being asked to wear a mask whenever they leave home over the next three to seven days, during level-four lockdown.

An emergency alert sent to mobile phones on Tuesday night outlines some of the expectations on Kiwis over the next week. Auckland and Coromandel will move to level four for seven days and the rest of New Zealand for at least three days, from 11.59pm on Tuesday.

“Stay home where possible and follow the alert level 4 guidelines. This will stop the spread of Covid-19 and save lives.

“Everyone is asked to wear a mask and keep a 2m distance from others whenever you leave your home.”

The lockdown comes after a 58-year-old Devonport man tested positive for Covid. Here’s reaction to this afternoon’s announcement and what it means for you.

Here are the locations of interest and a reminder of alert levels.

Public health

People with vaccine bookings for tomorrow were asked to stand down for now. There has been some work done to prepare vaccination centres for such a scenario but there was still some time needed to ensure they were fully safe, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

The Ministry of Health is reminding all New Zealanders of the basic public health measures of mask wearing, hand washing and using the Covid Tracer app.

The Prime Minister’s office has also urged people to follow the following public health guidelines:

Stay home if you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested. Keep on scanning QR codes. Wear a face covering on public transport and when you can’t keep a two-metre distance from others. Practice good hygiene – wash hands often.

Council facilities

Auckland Council facilities will be temporarily closed to the public from Wednesday August 18.

Facilities including libraries, pools, leisure centres, early childcare centres, community venues and playgrounds will all be closed for the next seven days. Some public toilets will remain open.

Auckland Council’s public wi-fi at council libraries will be switched off and drinking fountains will also be unavailable under alert level 4.

Hospitality

Hospitality chief executive Julie White said lockdown was yet another blow for sector businesses that have been hit very hard by lockdowns over the past 17 months.

“This will be another big blow for struggling businesses, though they’re not the only ones, and we know it’s necessary.

“Hospitality New Zealand met with our counterparts in Australia last week, so we know first-hand just how dire things are there as they deal with the Delta variant, and we want to avoid that. So there’s no alternative but to go into level 4, however much that’s going to hurt.

“We were warned by the Government a level 4 lockdown would give us the best chance of stopping community spread of Delta, and the consequences of not moving immediately are not worth thinking about.

“Hospitality New Zealand will be supporting our members, and particularly those in Auckland who have struggled through three previous lockdowns, as best we can through the coming days.”

The Restauarant Association said its members would far rather a short, sharp lockdown that does the job than months of restricted trading or yo-yoing between alert levels.

“Those that have been able to, will have been setting money aside to help them to get through business closure periods,” said chief executive Marisa Bidois.

“Whilst the wage subsidy is appreciated and obviously gives employees certainty, we would like to see more support for business owners by way of targeted fiscal assistance to help them cover their fixed costs.”

Education

Auckland Primary Principals’ Association president Stephen Lethbridge said schools around the city would be looking at their alert level response plans to ensuring they were prepared as they waited for further news.

Just this morning schools across the country were reminded to be ready for things to change at short notice.

Secretary of Education Iona Holsted said although “we’re all still enjoying Alert Level 1 across the country”, it was concerning to see the Delta variant sweeping the globe.

Schools should check they were ready if things change, particularly if they were linked to a confirmed case, Holsted wrote.

They should check they had up-to-date contact information for all students, staff and parents. They could also be made to shut down for three days or longer with “little or no warning”, and should be ready for distance learning.

Public transport

Anyone using public transport, or who cannot socially distance in public spaces, is being advised to wear a mask as a precaution by the Ministry of Health.

Supermarket shopping

People are being urged not to panic buy groceries this evening.

Long queues swamped checkouts this afternoon and online shopping websites crashed. Home delivery time slots are booking out fast, with one person claiming the next available time to have their groceries delivered is Saturday.

Police said it will be increasing visibility at supermarkets to “provide both workers and the public with reassurance”.

Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin urged customers to “keep calm”.

“We’d ask customers to wear a mask when you’re shopping in our stores as an extra precaution, and use the contact tracing app as you come in.

“All of our stores are open and we will have physical distancing measures in place, as well as extra cleaning and hygiene practises.

“We’re seeing extra demand for online shopping and remind everyone that all our stores are open and there is plenty of food and other groceries so there’s no need to buy more than you need.”

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