Stay the course, save lives
Daily life on our beautiful coast has changed for at least four weeks while NZ fights Covid-19. By isolating ourselves at home, we have the chance to stop the coronavirus threat.
The Coromandel is locked down. After a week in which
the Covid-19 virus was transmitted in the nation’s communities — though not, as of Monday 23 March, on the Coromandel — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for calm and kindness.
“We can stop the spread by staying at home and reducing contact,” she said as she announced the move to a nationwide level 4 pandemic alert.
“We are now asking all New Zealanders who are outside essential services to stay at home, and to stop all interaction with others outside of those in your household . . . ”
She said it is our “best chance” to slow the virus and save lives.
“You can leave your home for fresh air, a walk, for exercise, to take your children outside. But please remember this simple principle. It must be solitary. Only spend time with those you are in selfisolation with, and if you are outside, keep your distance from others. That means two metres at all times.”
She said in the short term the numbers infected will likely rise and to stop community transmission, these measures must be in place for four weeks.
She urged people to only buy what they needed when they needed it from supermarkets.
“We will not run out of food.”
Without these measures announced, “up to tens of thousands” of New Zealanders could die from Covid-19, she said.
On the Coromandel, all public venues such as libraries, pools, gyms, and council service centres are closed until further notice. All schools and early childhood centres are closed and the Easter school holidays have been brought forward.
All restaurants, bars, cafes and any place where the public congregate are closed.
As of the end of last week, community volunteers and some retailers had already begun free deliveries for those self-isolating due to Covid-19, some reporting a boost to business from bach owners escaping the city.
Calls were made in the community for Hot Water Beach hot pools to be shut to visitors.
At Matarangi, the Four Square store had since Monday promoted free
deliveries for those self-isolating. Owner Darren Walker says his business was 70 to 80 per cent busier than the same time last year.
“We don’t want any muppet coming into our store that’s in selfisolation. The response has been awesome.
“One woman drove down in a car left at the airport for her, and she parked in the carpark leaving her card on the top of the car. One of the girls sprayed the card with sanitiser and the woman talked through what she wanted on the phone while parked outside. We left the goods outside for her and she just loaded the box into the car.”
He believed there were more bach owners on the Coromandel, self-isolating.
“They don’t want to be in the city, they’re coming down here to be at the beach.”
Port Rd Bakery was among the first in Whangamata to shut its doors — from 22 March — saying it could not take the risk of exposure to the virus due to having immunity-compromised family members.
The Repco Beach Hop 20 team closed Beach Hop Central at Whangamata Club prior to Monday’s announcement. Initially it was to have opened for merchandise sales. The event is postponed to November 25-29.
“All we ask is for people to show some love and respect for each other and keep well,” the Beach Hop team stated.
Whangamata RSA had closed by Sunday, and will not be hosting an Anzac parade or Poppy Day.
Whangamata Lions are the latest to cancel their event — the
Run Walk Festival was to be its 25th this year, says organiser Maurice Sheppard.
Whangamata Community Services Trust doors closed earlier than the Prime Minister’s announcement, operating by appointment only.
“We will still be accepting referrals and requests for support, but we encourage you to contact us via telephone 07 8657065, leave us a message on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org,” says manager Monique Gardner.
All therapy and budgeting sessions will be by phone and there will be no home visits. Food parcels will be delivered outside recipients’ homes.
“This will be reviewed weekly and is subject to change in line with recommendations from the Ministry of Health and Government guidelines,” says Monique.
Whangamata Police are calling for calm as they say local social media sites reached “hysteria” over Covid-19.
“It is absolutely essential that you follow only official information from official New Zealand sources,” says Sergeant Will Hamilton, whose full message is featured in this week’s Police Report.
● The Coastal News is a community newspaper with a weekly deadline and therefore cannot provide up-to-the-hour information. Please visit www. covid19.govt.nz for official information and advice.
● If you’re not sure who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am - 1am, 7 days a week).
● Got symptoms? Call your GP — do not visit. Or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.