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Tauranga McDonald's lovers began queuing for their Big Mac fix from 3am this morning after four weeks off the beloved takeaway.

Owner of four Tauranga McDonald's restaurants, John Warder, said it had been "awesome" to see the customers' excitement as they picked up their orders this morning.

Some people had camped out from 3am to be "the first" to nab a Big Mac or burger, while others were putting in "massive" orders to get their fix, he said.

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"It's like people are getting back their five weeks worth of McDonald's," Warder said.

Breakfast and coffee had not been the pick of the pack, with loads of people instead opting for the classic burgers as the sun rose, he said.

It had been great to get the staff back together who had come to work feeling "bubbly and happy", he said.

Chanel Chandler got the kids in the car at 7am to get their McDonald's treat. Photo / George Novak
Chanel Chandler got the kids in the car at 7am to get their McDonald's treat. Photo / George Novak

Warder managed more than 300 staff and their wellbeing had been his top priority over lockdown, he said. After a crazy morning, Warder said dinner time would be an "eye-watering experience" as a whole new spike of orders rolled in.

He said the customers had "fantastic attitudes" this morning as staff tried to navigate the new safety procedures and he hoped this would continue throughout the day.

"We are so thankful for all those loyal customers ... we are beyond thrilled to be back."

One of these loyal customers was Chanel Chandler who got the kids in the car at 7am to get their McDonald's treat.

Chandler said it was the "light at the end of the tunnel" and the kids were so excited just to get in the car and go somewhere.

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"That was the highlight for them."

She said there had not been a long wait and the meal was "delicious".

Julia Lochhead and Kobey , 1, enjoy their coffee on the beach. Photo / George Novak
Julia Lochhead and Kobey , 1, enjoy their coffee on the beach. Photo / George Novak

A Bay of Plenty Times photographer said lines were long outside the Tay Street Store this morning while people were enjoying their freshly purchased coffee on the beach and enjoying their first dip in the sea for five weeks.

Mother Sarah Cornish and her daughter, Amber, 4, had a stroll with their coffee and fluffy.

Cornish said the store was relatively busy but was impressed with the system the owners had set up to keep everyone safe.

Apart from a trip to the store, level 3 would be "pretty much the same" with their days including walks along the beach and afternoons of arts and crafts, she said.

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A day of mother-daughter bonding for Sarah Cornish and her daughter, Amber, 4 in matching outfits and takeaway drinks. Photo / George Novak
A day of mother-daughter bonding for Sarah Cornish and her daughter, Amber, 4 in matching outfits and takeaway drinks. Photo / George Novak

"We might walk a little further down the beach or go for drive."

Nicola van der Westhuyzen and her family packed their surfboards, spades and a picnic last night in anticipation of spending a whole day at the beach today.

After a long-awaited coffee she joined her sons Malachi Glasgow, 7, and Ezra Glasgow, 9, for their first surf in five weeks.

She got a small telling off, she laughed, for forgetting the soccer ball but otherwise, the family was in good spirits and would make the trip from their home in Otūmoetai to the Tay St beach in Mount Maunganui everyday.

Nicola van der Westhuyzen, centre, with Malachi Glasgow , 7, right, and Ezra Glasgow , 9, enjoy being back in the ocean at Mount Maunganui today. Photo / George Novak
Nicola van der Westhuyzen, centre, with Malachi Glasgow , 7, right, and Ezra Glasgow , 9, enjoy being back in the ocean at Mount Maunganui today. Photo / George Novak

Van der Westhuyzen said while there was some excitement to be able to do a bit more, her children were feeling a bit frustrated that they still could not see their friends.

Her children would still be home schooled and she would continue to work from home as a hand therapist with online consultations.

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Owner of The Med Cafe in Tauranga, Jo Brown, had "plenty of pre-orders" ready to go when she opened her doors this morning.

She said within minutes, "a bit of a queue" had developed out front and she was working hard to get people their morning coffee.

Comments about how thrilled people were to see her reopened and how excited they were for their morning coffee had been great to hear, she said.

Hoani Skipper enjoys his burger by the beach. Photo / George Novak
Hoani Skipper enjoys his burger by the beach. Photo / George Novak

"It has been really heartwarming."

She said she was taken things hour-by-hour as that was "all she could cope with".

"I don't like thinking too much into the future about if we will survive as a business ... but I'll keep fighting,

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"I'm just here to make great coffee for everyone today."

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said now more than ever was a time to make a conscious effort to support local business who were still struggling despite being open.

He said while some hospitality businesses were open today, many would be trying to recover for the lost income over the past five weeks.

Scaffolders work on a building on Tay Street. Photo / George Novak
Scaffolders work on a building on Tay Street. Photo / George Novak

There would still be significant stress and anxiety about the future of their businesses, he said, and it would take a while for the economy to warm back up again.

"Pre-Covid, less than 10 per cent of purchases were made online," he said.

Now more than ever, consumers needed to make a conscious effort to shop local and not go for the cheapest off-shore options, he said.

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He said it was heartening to see construction workers back out today given the important role they play in the economy.

Police have also noticed more people taking advantage of the reduced restrictions with an increase in the amount of traffic and the number of people out and about.

There have been no incidents of note this morning but police urge the public to be patient and adhere to the updated restrictions.

"This means staying home as much as possible except for exercise, going to work or school, or visiting local services like the doctor, pharmacy or supermarket," a media spokeswoman said.

Hewletts Road traffic this morning. Photo / George Novak
Hewletts Road traffic this morning. Photo / George Novak

Under alert level 3, police will continue to be highly visible in our communities and on our roads to maintain public safety, security and order.

Police would continue to take an education-first approach as New Zealanders adjust to the updated restrictions but will take enforcement action, either through warnings or arrests, for any serious or persistent breaches.

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Recreation

While golfers can return to the green and get a bit of exercise, Bay of Plenty Golf men's president John Laing said it would not be as fun until the level dropped again.

The banter, friendly competition and a catch up over a drink and meal after the game were things Laing said were big parts of the fun of golf which were not allowed under level 3.

Sports such as golf, croquet, lawn bowls and tennis, you will be required to provide details for contact tracing, bring your own equipment, abide by the hygiene rules of the club, and stay only for the period of time that you are participating.

The keen golfer would often play in the morning with his mates and catch up after.

"We sit down after our game, have lunch at the club, coffee and a milkshake or something to eat, a few lies about how good or bad we played. That's sort of gone at the moment."

He had missed out on securing a tee time today, saying the booking spots were gone within five minutes.

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Palmers Bethlehem was as
Palmers Bethlehem was as "busy as a spring day" today. Photo / George Novak

Palmers Bethlehem had cars spaced evenly in the carpark and owner Shane Smith said they had been "unbelievably busy" with contactless orders piling up.

Vegetables, compost, shrubs, fruit mix and even a barbecue made up the orders they had processed today, 90 per cent of which had been done by phone.

"It's been as busy as a spring day."

Four checkouts had been running non-stop, he said.

Smith said like other business owners, there was a concern from not trading for a month, but customers called in throughout the lockdown to find out when they would open.

He said the bustle today was heartening to see, knowing they were an important part of the community.

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Those wanting to get a bit more DIY in while in level 3 are able to buy goods online and Mitre 10 Mega Tauranga had staff ushering vehicles in the car spot and customers waiting to pick up their goods.

Customers speaking to a staff member outside Mitre 10 Mega Tauranga. Photo / George Novak
Customers speaking to a staff member outside Mitre 10 Mega Tauranga. Photo / George Novak

Funerals

Elliots Funeral Home's first two funerals under the lightened restrictions will be tomorrow allowing 10 people, a funeral director, and a minister to come together while everyone else would still need to Zoom in.

Under level 3, funerals and tangihanga will be able to go ahead with a strict ten person limit and enforced social distancing.

Manger Neil Gedge said while level 3 "was not going to be great", it would be better than it had been during the lockdown.

Elliots Funeral Service will have it's first two funerals in level 3 tomorrow allowing 10 people to attend the service in person. Photo / George Novak
Elliots Funeral Service will have it's first two funerals in level 3 tomorrow allowing 10 people to attend the service in person. Photo / George Novak

"During the lockdown it has been horrendous for people because a funeral service is a starting point for all grieving.

"Not being able to grieve is going to have an effect on people long-term, mentally."

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He said families were now able to have a small group which would be significantly better for loved ones in beginning the process of grieving.

Education

Schools will open tomorrow for children up to Year 10 only if their parents are unable to work from home.

The Ministry of Education has provided guidance on what education would look like in level 3.

In schools, physical distancing with one metre between students and staff is required at all times and two metres distance outside, and bubbles within schools can be up to 10.

Otūmoetai College's usual roll of 2000 will be down to 18 students from Year 9 and 10, supervised by the senior leadership team.

Each student will have their own toilet, desk, chair and computer.

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They will also have a designated area during lunchtime on the courtyard which could usually fit 200 students.

Principal Russell Gordon said teachers would continue to teach from home and an extra room as well as staff have been planned for in the case that more students need to come to school.

Olive Tree Education & Care head teacher Philip Brickell said the early childcare centre was looking forward to opening tomorrow and felt well-prepared.

Brickell said half the centre would be used for 10 children which would be the centre's bubble.

The other children and teachers would Zoom in from home with mat-time and an activity for the day worked through with the youngsters.

He said there would be a range of sources for the different ages.

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Taumata School will open to three bubbles of 30 pupils tomorrow, with the remainder of the roll of 355 continuing distant learning.

Another 20 families indicated they may need their child to go to school as they were still working through their working arrangements.

Principal Gen Fuller said staff on site would focus on those in school and those who were still at home would focus on the distant learners.

"The teachers have been amazing," she said, and they all knew the role they, as a school, needed to play in the fight against Covid-19.

Fuller said while level 3 still had a lot of restrictions, there was cause to celebrate heading in the right direction.

Food banks

Food bank manager Nicki Goodwin said they were preparing for the rest of the year "being beyond something we've ever seen".

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"We're expecting a lot of business aren't going to survive ... that in turn means a lot of income isn't being earned which makes us busier than ever."

"We're preparing for the worst," she said.

Goodwin said charity would be operating the same way under level 3 as it had been during lockdown and were continuing to provide assistance to people they would not usually.

She said they could not accept food donations as all donations would need to be quarantined for two weeks which was not something they had space to do and encouraged people who wanted to help to consider a monetary donation.