Mayors and police say stay home

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People who visit their cribs over Easter Weekend could be arrested, the police are warning.

Otago and Southland’s holiday hot spots normally buzz over the long weekend as crib owners enjoy the end of the golden weather or mothball them in readiness for winter.

But police, the Southern District Health Board and mayors across the region are urging people to resist the temptation to break Covid-19 lockdown rules.
A police spokesman said a ‘‘high visibility presence’’ would be maintained in such communities throughout the Easter break.

Everyone had to be locked down at their current place of residence, except when undertaking essential travel such as for grocery shopping or seeing a doctor.
Breaches would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
‘‘We will speak to people, ask them what they are doing, talk to them about keeping safe, and if they continue to break the rules, police will use their discretion to give them a warning, or if necessary they could be arrested.’’

Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming said it was vital people stayed where they had been living since the lockdown began 13 days ago.
‘‘Even though you may be going from one residence to another, with no intention of interacting with other people, you do increase the risk of transmitting the infection to a whole new community.’’

Southern mayors are not going as far their counterparts in the Grey and Westland districts, who yesterday called for roadblocks on the highway passes leading to the West Coast.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said cabin fever would be setting in for many people, but those thinking about visiting their crib needed to ‘‘take a raincheck’’.
‘‘We’re only asking people to do two things over Easter — stay at home and try not to kill anyone.’’

Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan said many crib owners spent Easter preparing them for winter, such as turning off the water to avoid frozen pipes. But a neighbour or plumber could do that instead.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said it would be ‘‘silly’’ for people to travel to their cribs, and he expected police to be ‘‘strenuously enforcing’’ lockdown rules by carrying out patrols and randomly stopping motorists.

Mackenzie Mayor Graham Smith said visitors were not welcome in his district this weekend, and ‘‘Gestapo agents’’ in the community were likely to dob in those breaking lockdown rules.

Southland Mayor Gary Tong said it was not only crib owners who might be tempted to flout the rules.
People anxious about the condition of their boats, in places likes Bluff, Riverton and Te Anau, might also have the urge to travel, but should instead ask the local harbourmaster to check on them.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said although people ‘‘may not see much of an issue’’ with travelling to their cribs, they increased the risk of spreading the virus to more communities.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said he hoped people would do the right thing and stay home.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt said visiting the crib at Easter was a tradition for many, but his message was “don’t burst the bubble” and to obey lockdown rules.