Coronavirus: It felt like 5pm on a Sunday, not day one of a four-week nationwide lockdown

STUFF
Day one of coronavirus lockdown saw the streets of Taranaki much quieter

Opinion: In New Plymouth, day one of New Zealand's nationwide lockdown was disappointing. 

I thought Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was clear in her message to stay home. 

Devon Street East was very quiet on Thursday morning.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF
Devon Street East was very quiet on Thursday morning.

I wanted to see a ghost town and get that eerie feeling like I was in a science fiction movie, but, alas, I did not.

On my five-minute drive to work (journalists are an essential service so I'm travelling into office this week), I passed 18 cars. 

The advice to stay home during the lockdown has been clear but a lone paddleboarder made the most of the sunshine at Lake Rotomanu.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
The advice to stay home during the lockdown has been clear but a lone paddleboarder made the most of the sunshine at Lake Rotomanu.

On my travels around the city, I also spotted multiple cyclists, people out walking, swimming, families walking their dogs, and a stand-up paddleboarder. 

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One guy was cycling down the street singing at the top of his lungs and some had used the lockdown as an opportunity for a beach day. 

Sure, it didn't feel like the norm.

The Coastal Walkway wasn't thriving with its usual mix of office workers on their lunchbreaks, retirees out for walks, or tourists taking in the city by bike. 

The supermarkets had quietened down from panic buyers; traffic lights were largely unnecessary, and cafes weren't bursting with life. 

Stratford was mostly quiet but has a few cars passing through.
Catherine Groenestein
Stratford was mostly quiet but has a few cars passing through.

At 2.30pm on a Thursday it felt more like 5pm on a Sunday.

But for day one of a four-week lockdown to try and fight coronavirus, where we've been told everyone but essential workers must stay at home, there was more activity than I expected.

Plenty of people walking along the beach in New Plymouth.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Plenty of people walking along the beach in New Plymouth.

I know it's not home detention and we've been told we can exercise, but that exercise should take place in our neighbourhood. 

Driving should only be to get to essential services such as supermarkets or pharmacies, not to get to the beach or the lake.

All other activities should be avoided.

A few could be seen making the most of the enforced time at home by mowing the lawn or raking leaves. But these sights were few and far between. 

Jacinda Ardern told the country the simplest thing New Zealanders could do to stop the spread of the virus was to stay at home. 

"That is how we will save lives."

The main street of Hāwera was mostly deserted on the first day of the level 4 lockdown. Hawera's main playground in King Edward Park was completely empty.
Catherine Groenestein
The main street of Hāwera was mostly deserted on the first day of the level 4 lockdown. Hawera's main playground in King Edward Park was completely empty.

There's no doubt four weeks in lockdown is going to be tough but if this is what day one looks like, what will day 30 look like? 

I don't mean to sound like I'm telling people off. I'm not disputing the fact that the next four weeks will be challenging.

It's going to be a struggle for us all and there's a lot of grey areas about exactly what is allowed. 

But we've got to at least try and do this right, right? Otherwise, this is going to last a lot longer than it needs to. 

So stay at home as much as you can and let me get those ghost town eerie sci-fi vibes on my next trip to work. 

Many people around New Plymouth were out walking.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Many people around New Plymouth were out walking.
Essential services worker, James Hog, from City Cleaning Services, out in the early hours of Thursday morning.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF
Essential services worker, James Hog, from City Cleaning Services, out in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Both an elderly person on a mobility scooter and a person on a pushbike were out getting some fresh air.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Both an elderly person on a mobility scooter and a person on a pushbike were out getting some fresh air.
An empty Coronation Ave.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF
An empty Coronation Ave.
Playgrounds around the region have been closed, including St Joseph's School in New Plymouth.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Playgrounds around the region have been closed, including St Joseph's School in New Plymouth.
Delivery trucks unload at Countdown Central in New Plymouth.
ANDY JACKSON/STUFF
Delivery trucks unload at Countdown Central in New Plymouth.

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