20 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Is it too soon to relax the lockdown?

8:12 am on 20 April 2020

As New Zealand prepares for a potential drop in alert levels this week - to level 3, some people think it is too soon to be relaxing the standard.

Auckland's Ponsonby Rd during lockdown

Auckland's Ponsonby Rd during lockdown Photo: RNZ/ Lydia Batham

Nearly four weeks deep and Aotearoa continues to navigate uncharted waters, and for non-essential workers, life has completely been put on hold.

But, there is no pressing pause for Jamie Vulinovich who is 29 weeks pregnant and expecting a baby boy.

"Not being due until July has alleviated some stress and pressure that I know other pregnant women are feeling. Haven't got my next scan booked in yet but the last one I went for, my husband couldn't be there. I don't believe they will be relaxing those rules any time soon," Jamie Vulinovich said.

It is a strange time for people celebrating a birthday in isolation- especially big milestones like a 21st which was the case for Wellington law student Maisy Bently last week.

"There was still some very special moments although it was definitely not what we planned. My partner very kindly organised for my friends to record little speeches which he then edited into a big video ... some of my friends delivered speeches over Zoom."

"My family and I all got dressed up, sat in the living room and cried and laughed for a couple of hours," Bently said.

An Auckland primary school teacher said she was concerned going back to school at level 3 could put her own bubble at risk.

"Now that we are into distance learning and it is going ok, I would be happy to carry it on. I actually think that schools shouldn't go back until level 2. Level 3 is a bit too soon. The government saying it is optional for kids to go [to school] is going to be too messy."

Clive Antony from Christchurch owns a social media business Mates and thinks it is best to remain at level 4.

"I would be really comfortable if we had level 4 for another 2 weeks and then we dropped to level 2. There is not much difference between level 3 and 4 ... there is not much difference. Definitely what I am hearing from my clients especially those in hospitality is that it is just too risky for them."

The tap has been turned off for David Gaughan, founder of Eagle Brewing New Zealand in Kaiapoi who says lockdown has been really tough.

"We lost about 98 percent of income basically overnight. We are right down to only supplying to a handful of supermarkets. That has helped a wee bit but it has not been huge."

He said dropping to level 3 is more of the same and the hospitality industry won't get back and running until the country goes at least to level 2.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs