It’s Labour Weekend and many Aucklanders will be keen to make the most of the long weekend and get out and about in their region. Here are some top tips to ensure you stay safe and enjoy the public holiday and, most of all, help us all stick to the COVID-19 guidelines.
For more information on what you can and can’t do under Alert Level 3 Step 1, visit the COVID-19 website.
1. Stick to your bubbles
If you’re planning to catch up with another bubble remember, it needs to be outside where there is much less chance of contagion.
Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, asks people to keep their outdoor catch-ups to two bubbles only, with a maximum of 10 people.
“Although we’re expecting a weekend of staying inside, with weather for the region looking gloomy, it’s important to make sure you can get out and active when you can and enjoy the eased restrictions safely.
“If the wet weather dampens your catch-up plans, do not move the gathering inside. COVID-19 is still in the community and the lack of ventilation inside makes it easy for the virus to spread.
“Continue to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and track your movements with the NZ COVID Tracer app.
“It's about keeping our whānau/aiga and community safe.”
2. Get vaccinated
Auckland Council is also asking anyone who has not been vaccinated to please do so as soon as possible. Vaccination is the best way we can keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe from COVID-19 and will help us move towards a lower level of restrictions.
For information on when and where you can get your vaccine, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage.
3. Stay local
You are allowed to travel throughout the Auckland region during the day for outdoor activities but staying local is advised as it helps to stop potential spread of the virus.
Travel to Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier islands for recreation is prohibited unless you are a resident of either of the islands. You are not able to go to the islands if they are not your primary place of residence.
Fullers360 crew will be reminding passengers of the restrictions that are in place and report any instances of non-compliance to police.
4. Do not go to your holiday home
Staying at your bach or holiday home is also prohibited – the only reasons you can move into a different home is if you:
- are moving permanently, or long-term
- need to use a temporary or emergency home, for example for care while sick or to seek refuge from an unsafe domestic violence environment
- are required to by a court order
- are asked to by a person exercising a power under any enactment to order you to be detained, to change your place of detention, or determine your place of residence (for example, a direction of the New Zealand Parole Board or a probation officer)
- are going to your residence once your detention or determination ends.
5. No overnight trips
Overnight stays at the bach, in AirBnB accommodation, going camping or staying with friends or family cannot happen.
Keep your bubble meetups and recreation activities to during the day, and make sure you return to your place of residence every night.
6. Use public toilets respectfully
Over 500 of Auckland Council’s public toilets are open to ensure they are available for the increased number of people carrying out essential work or permitted travel.
However, Auckland Council General Manager Community Facilities, Taryn Crewe says we have received many reports of toilets being blocked across the region.
“We’ve had people flushing nappies, sanitary products, wet wipes and even rocks and sticks.
“Some of our toilets use a septic tank system and flushing anything but toilet paper can cause serious blockages and damage the system. These facilities are clearly signposted, and bins are provided to dispose of wet wipes or sanitary products.
“Our team is working hard to make sure these facilities are available and safe to use. Please do not flush anything that shouldn’t be flushed, and we can keep these open for everyone’s convenience.”
7. Be considerate of our regional parks
With the Auckland boundary closed, Aucklanders have been flocking to our parks since restrictions allowed. Weather permitting, we’re expecting a large number of users to use our parks for their recreational activities this weekend.
However, the increase in visitor numbers has brought a corresponding increase in incidents. More attacks (damage and vandalism) on kauri dieback-preventing hygiene stations have been reported, and non-compliance is on the rise.
Since Auckland went into Alert Level 4 lockdown, we’ve issued eight bylaw breach notices in the Waitākere Ranges for accessing closed tracks, four warning notices across the region and six biosecurity compliance orders in the Hunua Ranges for breaches of the Controlled Area Notice (CAN).
Auckland Council Manager Proactive Compliance, Adrian Wilson says, “We will be out monitoring compliance again this weekend. So, if you intend visiting one of the parks, do the right thing; stay on open tracks, use the hygiene stations and follow COVID-19 guidelines.”
For more information on how kauri dieback and other environmental initiatives are going, visit OurAuckland.
8. Enjoy one of our many walks
Weather permitting, a day walk is a great way to get out and active this weekend.
Auckland Council Regional Parks Manager, Scott de Silva reminds people that while parks across the region can be accessed by all Aucklanders, the region is still at Alert Level 3 meaning a limit on what type of walks can be done.
“All walks need to be day trips only on easy trails. Attempting more challenging tracks, especially if you have never done it before, is not a good idea. It is an unnecessary risk to yourself and to others.”
Scott encourages people to try and stay local if they can, especially if the weather is looking dicey.
“There are plenty of great walks to try out all over suburban Auckland, including a number of bush walks. Most of them are easy trails, are good for families, and are a great way to get started.”
You can find a walk, track or trail on the Auckland Council website.
9. Waitākere track and road closures
Storm damage is still affecting some tracks in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with current track closures including:
- Ahuahu Track due to slip damage
- Karamatura Track lower loop and Karamatura Falls access due to flood damage
- Ussher Track due to a bridge washout
- Winstone Track due to a bridge washout
Sections of the Te Henga Walkway, managed by DOC, have been re-opened from both the Constable Road end and the Te Henga Road end, although an area in between remains closed due to a slip. People will not be able to walk the length of the track and will have to return to the end they entered the track from.
Whatipū Rd remains closed to everyone, apart from limited access to properties for local residents. Serious slips on the road have caused dangerous conditions so local residents are asked to please take care. Pedestrians are not allowed to use the road.
You can find out what tracks are open using this interactive map.
10. Together at Home
With a wet weekend expected, it may be hard to keep tamariki (children) engaged and entertained inside.
Auckland Council’s Together at Home campaign provides plenty of things to do, whether it is looking for an idea to help feed your mind; wanting to move your body in a new way; finding a new way to lift your spirits during this challenging time; or simply needing something different and exciting to do.