Yesterday was DAY 23 of New Zealand in lock down as we try to fight the COVID19 pandemic.
Thus far in the unprecedented situation New Zealand has found itself, the country has performed brilliantly in terms of compliance with shut down regulations. On Monday the country will make a choice about whether to stay at LEVEL 4 or go to LEVEL 3.
LEVEL 3 as far as I can tell is basically LEVEL 4 lite or LEVEL 3.5:
- No hair dressers will open
- Most retail shops will stay shut
- Tradies will be able to go back to work
- Public playgrounds will still be off limits
- Early childhood can reopen
For me there are no concessions made at LEVEL 3. I will still have no work. In terms of things I do outside of work, I will not be able to do any except go for walks.
But I feel sorry for those who have had deaths in their family and were hoping that LEVEL 3 would be kind enough to let them have a funeral/tangi – with a limit of 10 people, I cannot imagine the final opportunity to hold a service for a loved one will be taken up by any families in that time. One or two weddings might go ahead, with less formal celebrations for the 90% of guests who had to be cut out held later, but I suspect just because the wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of a person’s life and most will want their best friends and family there, a 10 person limit will almost be a disincentive.
I doubt very much early childhood education centres will want to reopen. Tots put things in their mouths by default, drop things like drinks and food on the floor. The only COVID19 proof way of ensuring they are safe is probably to simply not open since they will not be able to play.
The same article in The Press, briefly outlined what LEVEL 2 would look like, and it is basically a LEVEL 3 lite, like a LEVEL 2.5. A person working in the hospitality sector must be thinking that their industry will be the last taxi off the rank. For a number of my friends, this will hurt a lot. I suspect at least some of them will be jobless before their employers can fully reopen.
I give New Zealand 6 weeks all up before non-compliance with lock down starts to become a major issue. After that some basic, hard tests are going seriously challenge the authorities in the coming weeks, namely:
- How long will people continue to observe social distancing – at the moment whilst cases and deaths are still happening it is understandable, but when we get to the point where the last new case was several days ago and the number of recovered patients is rapidly closing on the total cases, surely significant easing will happen
- The number of people wanting to go to check on secondary properties will increase steadily the longer it takes to get to LEVEL 2 and there will be an associated surge in people who are prepared to run the risk
- There will be a surge in people who are prepared to go out and partake in activities that are not permitted – those who are on farms with significant bush nearby will be wanting to go bush; cyclists will start cycling in groups again
This is the sad reality of the world that we live in. It is made worse by the fact that if we are the first to eliminate COVID19, we will still have to keep the border fully closed for probably the rest of 2020, whilst we wait for other nations who did not go in hard and early to catch up.
I admire the work of this Government thus far. They have done a fantastic job with no blue print on how to govern a country in a pandemic. There has been a few idiots deliberately challenging the authorities and a few naysayers with dollar signs for eye pupils, but the very vast majority of New Zealanders have complied. If there is a steady, progressive winding down of the restrictions that will be a massive achievement. But if we drag it out too far, the real trouble is still over the horizon.