Covid-19: Church group breached alert level 3 rules by meeting in south Auckland
A man has been spoken to by police and issued a written warning after a group of people gathered for a church service on Sunday, in breach of alert level 3 rules.
Superintendent Jill Rogers, Counties Manukau District Commander, said police received reports the group had gathered at a Māngere East property for a church service.
Do you know more? Email email@example.com
Rogers said this involved multiple people who did not live there.
* Covid-19: Recurring lockdowns may spark rise in complacency, experts say
* Covid-19: South Auckland marae leaders feel mounting pressure during lockdown
* Covid-19: PM says KFC worker's family contacted 15 times via text and phone
“A man was spoken to at the address around the risks to the public created by those who are not following the restrictions in place, and he was issued with a written warning in relation to this breach.”
Rogers said it was important everyone did their part to reduce the risk of community transmission by abiding by the restrictions.
This week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her frustration at those who breach the rules after it was revealed members of the fourth family in the Auckland February cluster, Cases M and N, had both were not self-isolating when they should have been.
The National Party has said it wants those who break the rules to be fined. Ardern said that responsibility rested with police.
A police spokesman confirmed a fine was not issued to the churchgoers who broke the rules.
He said: “It’s important to recognise that this report was received on Sunday - the first day Auckland returned to Level 3
“This individual was spoken to on the same day and educated around what the current restrictions meant and were warned that any further reports of breaches could result in further action being taken, including prosecution if appropriate,” he said.
The spokesman said enforcement would be considered where appropriate, particularly in response to deliberate and/or repeated breaches.
Since March 2020, 834 people have been prosecuted, 5587 people warned, and 260 youth referrals relating to Covid-19 lockdown breach offences, he added.
Police process 38,997 vehicles through checkpoints
Superintendent Rogers said a total of 38,997 vehicles had been stopped at Auckland's border checkpoints between 6am on Sunday and 3.30pm on Monday.
Twenty-three thousand were processed at the Auckland-Waikato border on Sunday alone.
This was more than Auckland’s 72-hour lockdown earlier in February.
Rogers said delays at the northern and southern checkpoints had been “minimal” since Monday, which was a far cry from the long waiting times on Sunday.
One driver, who was stuck in the queue from Rangiriri to the Mercer checkpoint – a distance of 10km – for seven hours and 45 minutes, said the wait times were “unreal”.
Others reported toileting on the side of the road.
The border was put in place at 6am on Sunday after Auckland moved to alert level 3, and the rest of the country was placed in alert level 2.
It came after a new community case of Covid-19 was announced in South Auckland – a 21-year-old who had visited a number of places, including a gym and the Manukau Institute of Technology campus – while infectious.
A total of 583 vehicles have been turned away since Sunday – 293 at the northern checkpoints and 290 at the southern checkpoints.