Less than 12 hours since Auckland moved to alert level 2.5 and already crowds of people are swarming to the city’s airport taking the opportunity to travel.
At Auckland Airport’s domestic terminal, all seemed to be wearing masks but keeping a 2-metre distance appeared impossible as people navigated their way to the bag drop off and check in.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she welcomed visitors to Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s tourism hotspots, but advised those who were sick to stay away.
“Everybody is a bit jittery so don’t come if you’re sick, follow the Covid tracing – there has been big pick up locally, and stick to the precautions that we are all following including wearing a mask.”
She said hospitality and tourism in Rotorua had been profoundly affected by the second wave of Covid-19 but she was looking forward to it picking up again.
“During [Auckland’s] level 3 we certainly noticed the tap turned off here in Rotorua and it was very noticeable, very marked.”
Meanwhile, as the clock ticked seven this morning, the streets of Auckland’s city centre started coming back to life, this time with a new trend – masks.
Those wearing one included a woman smoking, removing her mask for each drag.
They say a dog is a man’s best friend – well that was confirmed this morning when the Herald spotted a man determined to keep his dog as safe as he by dressing him with … a mask.
Police officers, construction workers and coffee brewers near Auckland’s ferry terminal also picked up the new trend – some deciding that if they must wear one they would wear it in style – and there were multi-coloured and patterned masks on show.
Others opted for comfort, choosing masks crafted with merino – but don’t worry, colours were again varied.
Though not all felt as willing to comply with this new “trend” – about a quarter of Aucklanders observed by the Herald were without.
Others were warming to the idea of making a mask part of their daily attire but felt it was better suited on their head or around their necks.
Though buses whizzed passed with fewer people on board than pre-Covid times, not a single person on board could be seen without a mask.
Social distancing looked about a six out of 10 across the CBD, some found it tricky as they manoeuvred their way through the maze of roadworks.
It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday asked New Zealanders not to leave their homes without wearing a mask.
Masks and face coverings are now compulsory on public transport and planes and encouraged for anyone in public.
“We know masks protect you and the people around you,” Ardern said on Sunday.
“They limit the chance of Covid-19 spreading in places where it is often harder to distance yourself and to trace people.”
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, meanwhile, has urged Aucklanders to wear a mask if they are out in public.
“We’ve got a system in place to stop the spread of transmission, but the system only works if people follow it.”
He said most Aucklanders have been following the rules but some have been flouting them.
Ardern noted that the rules don’t just apply to the city of Auckland, they are guidelines for Aucklanders.
That means Aucklanders should not be visiting aged-care homes in any part of the country.
Nor should they be attending mass gatherings in other cities or regions either.
This won’t be enforced, but Ardern appealed to people’s “common sense” and said there would be an element of trust.
Ardern was clear yesterday that the Government “will step up levels again if we need to”.
But she is confident that this won’t happen.