Lock­down day one: Teddy hunt keeps spir­its high in Win­ton

The Southland Times - - Front Page - Louisa Steyl and Damian Rowe

Amelia King, 4, and her brother Wil­liam King, 2, both of Win­ton, en­joy­ing the two teddy bears in the win­dow of Mar­lenes Hair Sa­lon, on Main St in Win­ton. Chil­dren through­out New Zealand have been tak­ing part in a teddy bear hunt while out for a walk this week. Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern en­dorsed the so­cial-dis­tanc­ing-friendly idea, and said peo­ple in her Welling­ton neigh­bour­hood may just spot a teddy bear in her win­dow. Res­i­dents coun­try­wide have left bears in their win­dows for chil­dren to spot on their walks.

There was an eerie calm around In­ver­cargill as the city set­tled into its first day of New Zealand’s month-long lock­down.

‘‘It’s more peace­ful and quiet,’’ Tane Ta­mati said while tak­ing a stroll through Queen’s Park with Ja­son Ta­mati yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Ja­son Ta­mati said he’d got­ten out of the house to give his lad some space while he was study­ing online.

He was pleased with how much qui­eter In­ver­cargill was on Wed­nes­day night al­ready. Bren­dan Kerr was out for

a cy­cle and said he was just try­ing to keep busy. He was find­ing the lock­down tough be­cause he had two chil­dren aged 14 and 9 at home who just wanted to go out.

Kerr said he was sur­prised by how many peo­ple he’d seen in the park and how many cars were on the roads.

South­land area com­man­der In­spec­tor Mike Bow­man said po­lice had been stop­ping cars through­out South­land to make sure peo­ple un­der­stood what the lock­down meant. There seemed to be a bit of con­fu­sion, so po­lice were fo­cus­ing on ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘Hope­fully peo­ple will take the ad­vice we’ve given them and we won’t need to move up a level,’’ he said.

Gro­cery stores were no­tice­ably emp­tier than usual yes­ter­day. Al­lied Se­cu­rity guard Tony McMul­lien said he’d seen a ‘‘slow but steady’’ stream of peo­ple through the doors at Count­down Waikiwi. ‘‘Ev­ery­one seems to keep a good dis­tance from each other,’’ he said.

Su­per­Value Plaza In­ver­cargill as­sis­tant man­ager Gil­lian Bowie said the store was a lot qui­eter than dur­ing the past few days. ‘‘There wasn’t that panic shop­ping go­ing on to­day.’’

The store was mak­ing sure cus­tomers kept a phys­i­cal dis­tance and had ar­ranged for per­spex screens to be in­stalled at tills. Staff were kept to a min­i­mum, Bowie said.

New World Wind­sor owner Ash­ley Hunter said Food­stuffs would also be pro­vid­ing per­spex screens, and hoped they would ar­rive by the end of the week. In the mean­time, the store was lim­it­ing the num­ber of cus­tomers in store by cap­ping trol­ley num­bers at 80. Trol­leys would be sani­tised af­ter use, Hunter said.

Fuel sta­tions in the city were also qui­eter, with many tak­ing steps to limit in­ter­ac­tion with cus­tomers. Waikiwi Mo­tors had placed a big ta­ble in front of its counter to keep peo­ple at a dis­tance.

At the Z En­ergy sta­tion in Glad­stone, staff were serv­ing cus­tomers through a small win­dow in­stead of let­ting them en­ter the store.

Bren­dan Kerr

Tane Ta­mati

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