Aucklanders who have flocked to the beach and parks during Level 3 lockdown have been told they are putting themselves and their families at risk.

During the first weekend day of the latest lockdown period, scores of people headed to beaches and parks around the region to enjoy sunny weather and warm temperatures.

Large crowds could be seen at beaches in Takapuna, Kohimarama and St Heliers - with not many heeding the Prime Minister's advice to wear a mask while out in public.

People enjoy the beautiful weather on sunny Saturday at St Heliers Beach. Photo / Brett Phibbs
People enjoy the beautiful weather on sunny Saturday at St Heliers Beach. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Auckland Council parks, arts, community and events committee chair councillor Alf Filipaina said tonight it was disappointing to hear of large numbers of people flocking to popular places, in a statement saying that was "disregarding clear Government guidance to stay home and stay local when exercising".

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"We're experiencing stunning spring-like weather in Auckland this weekend but that is no excuse to flout the rules," Filipaina said.

"The result is large groups of people unable to safely keep their distance, plus this puts pressure on the very limited services, like car parks and public toilets, that we can offer under this alert level. It's also important that our staff can manage visitors and themselves safely,"

The council has followed all government advice and closed facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

"Playgrounds, skate and bike parks are closed; people must stay off outdoor exercise equipment, away from basketball hoops and off park benches.

"Yet we're still hearing that playgrounds are alive with children, families are using on-park equipment and park benches are all being used.

"We have closed all but around 200 public toilets – these remain open for workers that still need to carry out essential services.

"These rules are in place for your health and wellbeing, it's important to follow them."
Filipaina said Muriwai Beach had been one area affected by the behaviour.

Auckland Council has had reports of queues of cars more than 2km long at Muriwai Beach, influxes of people using toilets, padlocks and chains cut on closed gates (for example at Coast Road in Muriwai, Cornwallis and along Scenic Drive in the Waitākere Ranges).

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"Barriers are in place for a reason and when visitors damage public property they not only break the rules and but are breaking the law," he said.

Meanwhile, police said they had been busy across the Auckland region since Wednesday undertaking road policing activities and reassurance patrols across essential facilities such as supermarkets, pharmacies and Covid-19 testing sites.

At this stage no arrests have been made in regard to breaches of restrictions.
As at 4pm on Saturday, 40,865 vehicles had been stopped at checkpoints, of which 605 vehicles were turned around for undertaking non-essential travel.

Police continue to remind people to be patient, be safe and avoid non-essential travel.


Meanwhile it was confirmed there are seven new cases of Covid-19 today, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield has revealed.

The beautiful weather lured plenty to Takapuna Beach. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The beautiful weather lured plenty to Takapuna Beach. Photo / Brett Phibbs

All are in the community - there are no cases in managed isolation. Six cases are linked to the Auckland cluster and one case is being investigated, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

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That is in addition to the case being investigated yesterday. Bloomfield was confident both cases were linked to the cluster.

There are 56 active cases in New Zealand, of which 37 are in the community.

A lengthy queue for coffee at Takapuna Beach today. Photo / Brett Phibbs
A lengthy queue for coffee at Takapuna Beach today. Photo / Brett Phibbs