Whanganui's leaders have reacted to the news that all of New Zealand, except Auckland, has moved to Covid-19 alert level 2 after three positive Covid-19 cases were detected in the South Auckland community.
The cases, a mother, father and daughter, were announced by Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield at 1.30pm on Sunday. The family lives in South Auckland, but two family members travelled to New Plymouth over Waitangi weekend.
At 7pm on Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country was moving to alert level 2 as of 11.59pm Sunday, with Auckland one step higher at alert level 3.
It was confirmed on Monday morning that the cases are infected with the UK strain of the virus, believed to be significantly more infectious.
Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said the city has got through Covid-19 restrictions twice already, and he was confident it will make it through a third time.
"We've existed in level 2 for patches over the last year, so we know how to do it here," McDouall said.
"It comes back to the four things the Government has been reiterating. Wash your hands, cough into your elbow, scan and, most importantly, if you're not well don't go to work."
Asked about large upcoming events in the city, including the Sound Valley music festival set to take place at Cooks Gardens on Saturday, McDouall said he wasn't ruling them in or out at this stage.
"I still think [an extension of level 2] is very hypothetical. It's a three-day level 2, and I think it's a waiting position.
"I wouldn't necessarily say Sound Valley has no chance of going ahead, but if it doesn't go ahead, that would be a great shame for the organisers, everybody intending to go and obviously the Whanganui economy."
Whanganui MP Steph Lewis had much the same reaction, saying that some sacrifices will have to be made to keep New Zealand Covid-free.
"I know we've got some events coming up, but we've all worked incredibly hard to get where we are, and we are looked to around the world as a leader with our response," Lewis said.
"I don't think anybody wants to put at risk the gains we've all made over the last 12 months, so it's a case of everybody making a few sacrifices, hopefully for a short time."
Lewis said the decision to change alert levels was the right one.
"I think the change was the right thing to do, especially after overnight it's been confirmed that the strain the family has is the UK strain, which all evidence suggests is more contagious than the strain we had last year."
Currently in Whanganui, Lewis said she was unsure if she was travelling to Wellington this week, as Parliament implements strict social distancing rules within the chamber.
"We're seeing how things go, we're just waiting for some advice on how Parliament's going to work this week."
Horizons Regional Council said bus services across the region were continuing as normal, with passengers required to wear face coverings.
"We've been here before, our drivers know what to do. Many of our bus passengers will also be familiar with the requirements of alert level 2," transport manager Rhona Hewitt said in a statement.
"We are asking passengers to self-manage physical distancing on the buses by sitting one seat apart where possible. We also ask that people travel outside peak hours if possible. All passengers must now wear a face covering when using public transport."
While cash is still accepted, passengers have been encouraged to pay using a Bee card to reduce the risk of transmission.
A Ruapehu District Council spokesman said all council offices, libraries and amenities will remain open, but with alert level 2 protocols.
Rangitīkei District Council has closed its Youth Space in Marton, and the Taihape facility is currently under review. The "fill & go" water filter tap at the Marton Memorial Hall is also closed, as are all public drinking fountains.
All community halls will be closed for large functions and events, due to restrictions on numbers for gatherings. Events planned at these locations can operate if they can do so safely and meet the requirements for gatherings and physical distancing under alert level 2.
The Marton, Taihape, and Hunterville pools are closed, but all other council services and facilities remain operational under alert level 2 requirements.
In South Taranaki, the council confirmed that most services are operating as normal but they have decided to close the district's community pool facilities as a precaution.
That includes with Patea and Waverley Community Pool Complexes, which will remain closed for the duration of level 2.
A Whanganui District Council spokeswoman said most council services and facilities would continue to operate under alert level 2; however, changes had been made to the way the public could access some of these services.
"These are intended to minimise contact during the current Covid-19 situation in line with the Government's requirements while ensuring the provision of essential services," she said.
The Whanganui Regional Museum is open with a limit of 100 people allowed into the building at any one time, and libraries remain open with numbers limited to maintain physical distancing requirements.
The Innovation Quarter in St Hill St is available through appointment only.
Public toilets remain open, and visitors are encouraged to use the QR Tracer App code which is on display at all sites.