Extra signs and security tape are going up throughout Hamilton to remind people the city's playgrounds are still closed.

Hamilton City Council closed the playgrounds, including skate parks and basketball courts, when the country went to Covid-19 alert level 4. The Government has ruled playgrounds out of bounds under alert levels 3 and 4.

This is to discourage people from different bubbles gathering and because the virus can remain on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours.

Mayor Paula Southgate says playgrounds were shut to safeguard the community but not everyone is getting that message.

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Hamilton's Hare Puke Park playground in Flagstaff is closed too. Opened in July, it was named Playground of the Year at the Recreation New Zealand Green Pavlova 2019 parks conference. Photo / File
Hamilton's Hare Puke Park playground in Flagstaff is closed too. Opened in July, it was named Playground of the Year at the Recreation New Zealand Green Pavlova 2019 parks conference. Photo / File

"It amazes me that people are prepared to risk their health and the health of their community by pulling down tape and removing signs.

"This gives kids the impression playgrounds are open, which is just not true," Ms Southgate says.

"While it's tempting to relax our vigilance after so many weeks, we actually need to increase our efforts now more people are out and about; we also need teens and caregivers to be aware of that.

"If we end up with lots of children from different bubbles using the same play equipment, we could also end up with the virus spreading through our community.

"That's exactly what we've been working hard to avoid – no one wants to go back to level 4."

Hamilton's parks and walking tracks are open, so children and caregivers can still enjoy the city's open spaces.

The rule is to keep play local but children can still run around outside, play tag, have leaf fights, take their scooter to the park, kick a ball around and enjoy the autumn weather, as long as they stick to their own bubble and stay two metres away from other people.

Meanwhile, Waikato residents are being reminded to stay respectful and responsible during the first weekend under alert level 3 rules.

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Civil Defence Western Waikato Emergency Operations Centre duty controller Andrew Loe said alert level 3 should be met with restraint.

"We all need to be at home unless you are doing a necessary task, such as getting food, medication, groceries or travelling to work or to a solo recreational activity.

Stay in your own bubble - like these teddy bears and other fluffy friends. Photo / Bevan Conley
Stay in your own bubble - like these teddy bears and other fluffy friends. Photo / Bevan Conley

"If you're out and about, make sure you are by yourself or only with those within your bubble," Mr Loe said.

He issued a stern warning for people thinking of engaging in other recreational activities this weekend.

"This is not the time to have a party with your mates or to take up thrill-seeker activities."

The police will be following up on those who breach the conditions so exercise some restraint.

"The more people push the boundaries, the higher the likelihood that we go back to the level 4 lockdown," he said.

People are required to stay within their household bubble at level 3, but may expand it to reconnect with close family/whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.

"Social visitors shouldn't be invited to your home, nor should they enter your home. Alert level 3 is to restart our economy, not our social lives," Mr Loe said.

If you do feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate from those within your bubble and contact Healthline's freephone number 0800 358 5453, or your GP before heading to a community-based assessment centre (CBAC) for testing.

If you do feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms, contact Healthline's freephone number 0800 358 5453, or your GP before heading to a community-based assessment centre for testing. Photo / Alan Gibson
If you do feel unwell with Covid-19 symptoms, contact Healthline's freephone number 0800 358 5453, or your GP before heading to a community-based assessment centre for testing. Photo / Alan Gibson

Covid-19 symptoms include a high temperature (at least 38C), shortness of breath, sore throat, sneezing and runny nose and a temporary loss of smell.

Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

The nearest CBACs for the Western Waikato districts of Otorohanga, Waipā and Waitomo are located at Te Kuiti Hospital and Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton. They are open
daily.

A decision about moving to a lower alert level is due to be made on Monday, May 11.