A rush to get to supermarkets across Northland yesterday afternoon following the Government's announcement of a ramping up of the Covid-19 alert level saw traffic backed up at many.
At 3.30pm, just hours after the announcement, about 100 people queued outside
Whangārei Pak N Save to get in. Staff were letting in small groups as others left after being served.

The queue to get into the New World carpark around the same time extended down Kerikeri Rd and the Heritage Bypass. Similar scenes were reported at Kaitaia's Pak N Save and at some pharmacies. The rush was, however, unnecessary: Supermarkets will remain open under Level 4, along with medical centres and pharmacies as they are deemed to be essential services.

Train trips on hold
The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust in Kawakawa has halted all train trips in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. For their own protection the trust is also asking its volunteers not to come into the workshop or onto the station premises until further notice.

Neighbours help during fire
A Mangamuka family has good reason to be grateful to their neighbours. The alert neighbours not only spotted a night-time shed fire, they also woke the sleeping property owners and put out the flames with buckets of water. The blaze started in a shed on State Highway 1 opposite Mangamuka Marae about 12.40am on Monday. Okaihau fire chief Andrew Graham said the neighbours did a great job with the fire extinguished before the brigade arrived. A corner of the shed was burnt but the truck parked inside was undamaged.

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Turner Centre closes
The Turner Centre in Kerikeri has closed until further notice with part of its parking area given over to a Covid-19 testing station which opened on Monday morning. The decision to close the normally busy performing arts centre was made on Sunday, before a Government directive closing all non-essential services. Anyone waiting for a Covid-19 test is asked to observe social distancing, with each family or person staying about 2m away from anyone else, or to stay in their car until summoned by a staff member.

Rally postponed
The annual International Rally of Whangārei has been postponed due to the threat of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The rally, originally set for May 8-10, had to be suspended as it fell inside MotorSport New Zealand's two-month period of suspended activity.

"We are naturally disappointed to be caught up in this ever-changing situation," rally organising committee chairman Willard Martin said. "As much as people
are attempting to go about their lives the current reality today is, we cannot run on our allocated date." A decision on the rally's future would be made on April 23.

Riding for Disabled closed
NZ Riding for the Disabled in Whangārei has closed its facility at Barge showgrounds.
Chairman Jim Nees said the committee had unanimously made the decision to suspend all riding until further notice due to Covid-19.
Nees said they were following all due process set out by the NZ Government and health authorities and asked all volunteers over 70, and any staff or volunteers with compromised health to stay at home. Sessions could not commence without the correct number of trained adults and the decision to halt all riding had not been made lightly.

Kiwi North closes
Kiwi North have announced yesterday they will be closed to the public until further notice.
In a statement on facebook Kiwi North said: "We want to protect our community and support the efforts across Aotearoa to reduce the risk of Covid-19 and feel this is our part to play. We will continuously review the situation as it unfolds and updates can be found on our social media."
In the meantime, kiwi in the Kiwi House would be well cared for by the team.