The streets are quiet and businesses shut as New Zealand's first Level 4 health alert hits Taupō.

Even on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons the central business district was quiet as many people focused on preparing themselves, their homes and their families for four weeks of isolation.

While many retailers were bracing for the worst, with some doubting they could survive the closure, others were rushed off their feet. Pharmacies, supermarkets, paint retailers, hairdressers and mechanics were among those experiencing a boom.

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Schools closed to most students on Monday afternoon, with school holidays being brought forward two weeks to Monday March 30.

Now the focus turns to keeping the Covid-19 virus out of the Taupō District if possible.

Mayor David Trewavas is calling for the community to rally together to slow the virus's spread.

"This is vital to protect people's health. We need to be following the Government's directives and we need to be taking this very seriously as it will save the lives of tens of thousands of New Zealanders," Mr Trewavas said.

Staff outside Taupo Medical Centre screening visitors before entry. Photo / Laurilee McMichael
Staff outside Taupo Medical Centre screening visitors before entry. Photo / Laurilee McMichael

"All schools and non-essential services including bars, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, playgrounds and other public places will be closed for the next four weeks, and we will need to be staying at home in self-isolation.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"I cannot stress that enough — please stay at home unless you need an essential service. If we do, we have a chance to slow the spread. We all have a part to play.

"There is no need to panic buy as essential services including supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. Please shop as normal," he said.

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All community facilities, including playgrounds and toilets, closed at 5pm last Monday until further notice.

Council services will continue to operate online and over the phone. Rubbish collections will continue to operate but collection of recycling is on hold for now.

"Lastly, please be kind to one another. This is an unprecedented, uncertain and challenging time for everyone and we need to ensure we are looking out for each other," Mr Trewavas said.