Bumper to bumper cars at a popular west Auckland beach has followed fears of an influx of visitors during alert level 3.
Muriwai is ordinarily called home by just over 1000 residents, many of them retirees, some of whom would fall into the "at risk" category which includes anyone aged 70 and over.
However, a photo taken about 1pm yesterday showed just how popular the black sand beach is just days into alert level 3.
Cars line the side of a road with a coastal vantage point, the promise of the beach on the horizon.
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It comes as the council admits it might have to reopen more public toilets, due to the surge of people visiting parks and beaches under alert level 3.
Thousands of people have been descending on beaches and parks since Tuesday.
Some toilets in Auckland have been reopened due to the high demand, but most toilets and changing rooms both in Auckland and across the country remain closed.
Councils have been advised to keep public toilets closed unless deemed necessary for specific reasons, like servicing key public transport and service routes, and essential workers.
West Auckland councillor Linda Cooper told Newstalk ZB the Government's decision to allow regional travel is creating problems in places where toilets remain closed.
"We've got people driving in their droves already, driving long distances to our West Coast beaches and other beaches.
"If we don't open the toilets, people are going in the dunes, and it's pretty bad."
Cooper said long-distance travel within regions should never have been allowed under alert level 3.
She said the contradictory messaging has people going to the beaches, and defecating in sand dunes.
"This just seems so crazy to say region. The whole messaging is wrong.
"It's giving people leeway to get in their cars and drive 30 or 40km to go to the beach."
Auckland Council executive services director Ian Maxwell told Newstalk ZB the council was looking at the issue.
"We have opened some additional toilets, and that's in response to specific issues.
"In general, we are trying to limit the number of toilets across the city, primarily to encourage people to stay local really.
"It is a balancing act, and there are issues that emerge from day to day [the council team] are managing."
The Herald has previously highlighted the concern Muriwai residents held that the influx of visitors would bring Covid-19 into the region.
"Our isolated community is in its own bubble, with a vast majority not leaving the village or their properties at all during the level 4 lockdown," Ian Phillips said in a letter to the Government and shared with the Herald last week.
However, the community bubble was "only 20 minutes' drive" from Auckland city.
Even during lockdown, when people should only be leaving their house for essential reasons, Muriwai locals had noticed an uptick in non-residents visiting the area, he said.
"Some visitors who have been queried as to the reason for their visit have come from a one-hour drive away and yet they consider Muriwai Beach as their local beach.
"This is, of course, a nonsense, but is typical of the response whether they be surfers from Takapuna, dog walkers from Henderson, shellfish gatherers and fisher people from Howick, or a family from Grey Lynn on an afternoon trip."