6 Oct 2021

Rules still apply, Aucklanders reminded, as region's roadmap kicks in

6:59 am on 6 October 2021

Auckland Council says residents need to be cautious when meeting loved ones in local parks as restrictions ease today.

Happy family at a picnic. Picnic in the meadow or park. Young friends and their children in nature.

Photo: 123RF

After seven long weeks of lockdown, Aucklanders are finally allowed to go out and enjoy some freedoms.

The restrictions have been eased to allow those in level 3 to meet with up to 10 people in total but only outside, where Covid-19 has a far lower chance of spreading.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this meant that children can have a play date in the park, and friends can meet outside for a walk, a picnic or a beer.

Auckland Council head of park services Mark Bowater said while he's excited to see Aucklanders head out to public parks, some basic guidelines and rules still apply.

"It's just really important that people stay to those two bubble groups, watch their physical and social distancing. If they can't maintain that, then we would strongly encourage people to use masks.

"We've got QR codes on facilities like toilets and at visitor centres for example at the Botanic Gardens, so you need to scan in so that the government can still contact trace if that's required.

"Enjoy nature, but be careful, be cautious and be respectful. Look out for other people."

He said they are reopening public facilities, such as toilets and barbeques for use.

"Park gates that have been closed, in particular on regional parks, a number of sports parks, the Auckland Botanic Gardens, those park gates will now be open.

"Inside parks, we've had confirmation that it's OK for playgrounds to be used... These are high touch areas, so just be cautious."

Cornwall Park, home to cows, sheep, newly born lambs and of course One Tree Hill, sits smack bang in the middle of Auckland among 425 acres.

While the park will be open for foot traffic under this first step of alert level 3, park director Michael Ayrton said it is still best to leave your car at home.

"We've put a lot of effort in over the last couple of weeks since level 3 to get the place mowed and back to a presentable level.

"We've also done a huge amount of tree work in the park to ensure the safety of the public walking through the trees and the groves and avenues in the park."

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Walkers enjoy Cornwall Park. Photo: RNZ/Veronica Schmidt

He said park staff and security will be closely monitoring people to ensure rules aren't broken.

"I would hate to see the freedoms that the prime minister has extended us be diminished or taken away because of irresponsible behaviour, so we ask everyone to do their part.

"Enjoy the park but maintain that social distancing and give everyone else space."

Ayrton said barbeques in Cornwall Park won't be available for use during step one of level 3.

A full list of parks and facilities open across the city is available on the Auckland Council website.

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