Haircuts will have to wait until lockdown restrictions are eased. File photo.

Hairdos are hairdon’ts until lockdown hits level two

Manes will go untamed until lockdown restrictions are eased.

The national body of hairdressers has revealed hair cuts are off the table until the alert level is lowered to level two.

Cutz on Weld owner Toni-Marie Robinson says it’s reassuring to have a governing body with the foresight to guide small business owners in these troubling times.

“I feel as an industry we are dealing with customers extremely closely,” she says. “I certainly think it is a fair ruling.”

“All our clients are totally supportive, as they understand this is affecting not only us as a nation but the whole world.”

Guidelines released by the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers outline what their members can and can’t do during the Covid-19 quarantine.

Online sales of haircare products are permitted at level three and four, but they can’t do hairdos until level two.

And there are strict guidelines when they reopen, including physical distancing, staggered shifts and those over 70 and immunocompromised prohibited from salons and barbers.

Toni-Marie says it’s a small price to pay.

“If we don’t have our health, we don’t have businesses, so it is a small price to pay to live,” she says.

“We aren’t in this alone.

“This is a once in a lifetime world pandemic, and we as New Zealanders know how to join together and fight.”

But she says there is a bright side.

And with the professionals maintaining their own bubbles, Kiwis have turned to the trusty mixing bowl in droves.

Mullets and bowl cuts have made a comeback as New Zealanders celebrate the number 8 wire mentality with DIY trims.

“We as a business are looking forward to seeing the wild a wacky hairstyles walking through the door,” Toni-Marie says.

Some people are living on their vessel during lockdown but recreational boating is strictly prohibited. File photo.

Easter holiday-makers warned off Marlborough Sounds

Easter traditionally sees the Marlborough Sounds full to bursting with holiday makers enjoying the area before the long winter months.

While some international travellers have holed up in the Sounds, during the lockdown, the waterways are reserved for essential travel only.

And boaties have been given the thumbs up for behaving well while Covid-19 keeps them mainly moored-up.

Marlborough harbour master Luke Grogan says while there is some nervousness around people wanting to visit their bach during Easter, most people have responded positively.

“Everyone is hopeful people will continue in the main doing what they have been doing, that is staying home,” he says.

Luke says Port Marlborough’s message is clear, no recreational boating and if you don’t need to travel, don’t.

“We are going to have a presence on the water to support the efforts of all the people who are complying,” he says.

Alongside police, Port Marlborough staff have been running regular patrols in the Marlborough and Pelorus Sounds.

“There might have been half a dozen boats [not complying] early on during the lockdown.

“In the last few patrols, that number has dropped.”

He says Sounds residents with no road access, or those spending the lockdown on their vessel, still need to eat and they’re allowed to travel to town to stock up their pantries.

Public with concerns about boats travelling within the Sounds are encouraged to go to the police directly.

“Our powers are to do with navigation safety.

“The power with decisions around people breaking lockdown rest with the police,” Luke says.

He says those living in the sounds, or on their vessel should be staying in one place.

“They shouldn’t be going for an afternoon sail.

“They should be on a mooring, or in some instance at anchor, and stay there for the duration.

Luke says he has staff monitoring that space and if there were any red flags they would have notified the police.

He says most of the community has been complying in a bid to stop the virus.

“It’s a case of working together,” he says.

“If people have concerns about their boats, their security or safety on the moorings, genuine concerns, call the harbour office and we could organise and visit to the vessel on their behalf.

Luke says people in Marlborough have a high level of seamanship and know how important it is to make sure their vessels are safe.

“Don’t risk it and break the rules. Talk to us in the first instance.”

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

One more Marlborough patient likely to have Covid-19

A woman in her 40s is the latest person to become ill with Covid-19 in Marlborough, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

Today’s announcement takes the total numer of confirmed and probable cases of the virus to 48 across Nelson and Marlborough Dustricy Health Board. Twenty one of these cases are in Marlborough.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says there is still no evidence of community transmisson with all cases connected to travel.

No cases are in hospital and patients are isolating at home.

The news comes as the total number of cases nationwide sits at 1239, with 29 new cases today; the lowest daily number since before lockdiwn started.

Addressing the country earlier this afternoon, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Kiwis have played a vital role in keeping the number of cases down.

Drivers caught breaking lockdown may face arrest. Photo: File

Drivers caught out breaking lockdown for an Easter break

A plea by police for people not to breach self-solation over Easter is falling on deaf ears for some.

Nelson Marlborough and Tasman Police have caught the drivers of eight campervans and house buses at a checkpoint on SH6 this morning.

All have been trying to head north from Murchison for Easter, say police.

This comes as police revealed they would be ramping up efforts on the roads to catch out those flouting lockdown rules.

“We are checking to see why people are travelling.

So far eight camper vans and house buses have been turned around and ordered back to their Christchurch homes where they were supposed to be rather than trying to get to an Easter Holiday destination,” says a social media post.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster is urging people to stay stay and stay at home.

“We know many New Zealanders may have been planning to catch up with friends and family this weekend, or travel to traditional holiday destinations but we urge anyone who was planning to do this – please change your plans and stay home.

“Officers will be visible in our communities and on the roads, including around popular holiday spots, and on the arterial roads to them, to make sure people are aware of the requirement that everyone in New Zealand need to stay at their current place of residence while the Level 4 restrictions are in place,” he says.

Police will also be deploying checkpoints at a number of Marlborough locations, working with local authorities and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups.

Police Commissioner Coster warns people face arrest if they continue to ignore warnings.

Travelling to the bach for a holiday is not essential travel and it is not permitted, he says.

“It’s simple – travelling to and from different towns and cities risks spreading Covid-19 and puts lives at risk.

“The first step will be to educate, but if people continue to break the rules, police will use their discretion to warn people, or if necessary, they could be arrested.

“We’re asking everyone to play their part this Easter, stick to the rules and stay home within their bubble – and keep themselves and their communities safe.”

Some freedom campers using supermarkets during lockdown have been abused. Photo: Supplied.

Freedom campers face lockdown abuse

Freedom campers given emergency accommodation are coming under fire from the public.

The covid-19 crisis spurred council to take swift action to protect the region’s homeless and freedom campers in the area.

But people using their vans to get to and from the supermarket are being accused by some of flouting the rules.

Council’s Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says there is not a freedom camper in the region they are not aware of.

“They are in campgrounds all over the region and when they’re going to the supermarket and need to take their campers or vans, they are being abused like nobody’s business.

“People need to lay off and be kind; think about the impression they’re giving of New Zealand,” he says.

Emergency accommodation has been found for all known people sleeping rough or freedom campers trapped in Marlborough as the lockdown came into effect.

Marlborough District Council are picking up the bill for both groups, but all costs will be recouped.

Forty freedom campers have been found accommodation elsewhere in campsites across Marlborough.

“Emergency accommodation for people who’re sleeping on the streets has been found and we don’t know of any freedom campers who have not been directed elsewhere.

“Because we’ve directed them to going there [to lodgings] we’ll pay bills initially and will recover 100 per cent from central Government coffers,” Brian says.

He also wants to reassure members of the public that no money raised from rates was being spent on people from out with the region.

“We’re making sure of it by having a really robust system that everyone gets and can keep track of so it can all be reconciled at the end,” he says.

Brian also paid tribute to campground owners and hoteliers for their support during a tough time.

“They’ve been phenomenal.

“I can’t emphasise enough how brilliant the majority have been who’ve just taken people on when we’ve asked.

“We’re seeing a lot of the best in people, occasionally the worst, but mainly the best.”

Redwoodtown Countdown. Photo: Matt Brown.

Thoughtless shoppers’ glove gaffe

Careless customers given free gloves to help protect them from Covid-19 are ditching them in supermarket carparks.

What started as a courtesy to shoppers “backfired” for a Redwoodtown supermarket manager.

And horrified Redwoodtown residents are urging shoppers to put their used gloves in the bins provided.

Countdown Redwoodtown store manager Daniel Van Royen says he is “disappointed” that gloves were being dropped in the carpark and around the community.

“We’ve put controls in place and are notifying customers,” he says.

Daniel made gloves available at the front door, along with hand sanitizer, for customers to the Redwoodtown supermarket.

“All of a sudden we had gloves blowing everywhere,” Daniel says.

“I thought I was doing the right thing and it backfired a bit.”

In a Facebook post, one Redwoodtown resident says more than 50 gloves had blown up their driveway and onto their garden.

“We too want to remain free of the virus and would prefer not to come in contact with it as we clean up used plastic gloves,” the post says.

Daniel says after seeing the state of the carpark, and the surrounding area, he went and did a tidy up himself.

Now, the gloves have been moved from the front door and are available at the checkout.

More bins have been added to the entrance and exits.

“We get customers breaking rules, but we’re educating them,” Daniel says.

“It’s just like the lockdown rules, 90 per cent are good and 10 per cent aren’t.”

He says customers have got better as they’ve become more accustomed to the lockdown rules.

“We had aggressive customers at the beginning, but that has died down.

“People would reach past for products as we were stocking shelves, breaking our bubbles.”

He says posters on trolleys are proving a useful tool to help educate the public.

“Be self-aware,” he says. “It’s not a normal shop.”

“Queue up patiently and make sure you’re keeping your distance.”

He wants to remind shoppers that there should only be one person per household doing the grocery shop.

And to throw your rubbish in the bin.

“I would rather be at home, safe, with my two kids,” he says.

“But we’re providing an essential service.”

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Two new cases of Covid-19 in Marlborough

Two new Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Marlborough.

A Nelson Marlborough Health spokeswoman says all cases are travel-related with no evidence of a community outbreak in the region.

The two new cases bring the Nelson Marlborough region’s total to 46, with 12 confirmed and 8 probable in Marlborough.

The number of new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand has decreased for the third day in a row, with 50 new and probable cases announced today, bringing the national total to 1210.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she remains cautiously optimistic that the country is “starting to turn a corner”.

“It’s all the more reason to stay the course of our self-isolation as a nation,” she says.

She says there are no plans to end the lockdown early.

Director General Ashley Bloomfield says four people are currently in intensive care across the country with Covid-19, two in a critical condition.

He says 282 people have recovered from the virus, 41 more people than yesterday.

More than 46,000 Covid-19 tests have been performed in the country to date with 4049 completed yesterday.

Warning people off travelling during Easter, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says police will be checking with motorists that their travel is essential.

Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says he is concerned some people are not reaching out for help. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR

Fears over low food stocks for stricken elderly

Marlborough’s elderly may be missing out on vital food supplies.

Emergency civil defence staff and volunteers have been working hard to provide support to at risk people in the community.

But a lower than expected number in food parcels going out means some vulnerable older people may be doing without.

Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says he is concerned some people are not reaching out for help.

“I’m a little bit concerned that some older people at home may have next to nothing.

“They really do need to stay at home but online delivery if you don’t have a computer or you can’t pay for it makes it really difficult,” he says.

Response team volunteers have been dropping off food parcels to those who have contacted Marlborough District Council.

Marlborough has about 7500 people aged over 70-years-old.

Many have been helped by their own churches and community groups, says Brian.

But with just 37 parcels delivered so far, he is worried some people are slipping through the cracks.

“Our response team are delivering food and keeping up where we need to but at the moment, we are only supplying 37 food parcels and that strikes me as a little bit too low,” he says.

Across New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are ringing up 150,000 people over 70 who do not have a cell phone or email.

Brian says anyone who needs help in Marlborough can contact the council 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I understand that non-government agencies have been helping male phone calls to these people and visiting if they don’t get a response.

“A lot of our community groups are really stepping-up and looking after people but please contact council if you need help.”

Food is being provided to vulnerable sectors in the community by the council.

If people are struggling to pay, council will pick up the cost in the first instance, Brian says.

To contact council for help, ring the 24-hour number on 520 7400 or email [email protected]

Jim Elder has worked as a pharmacist for 62 years. Photo: Courtesy of The Mercury Bay Informer.

Pharmacists risk health to serve community

A former pharmacist is paying tribute to colleagues who are risking their health to help the community.

Jim Elder, from Blenheim, worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than six decades.

The former Tokoroa mayor says pharmacy staff are among the most at risk in the country from catching Covid-19 and deserve recognition for all they are doing.

“I was a pharmacist for 62 years, so I do have a bias.

“However, I want to congratulate pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who are doing such a great job in all pharmacies around the country. Pharmacy expects that every patient will have an illness or be in contact with someone who is ill.

“That makes it more likely they will come close to someone who has the Covid-19 virus or is in contact with someone who has it. Pharmacy staff are the most at-risk front-line health care workers in the country.”

All pharmacies in Blenheim are open during lockdown. Extra precautions are in place to protect both staff and customers.

Manager and pharmacist at UFS on Queen Street in Blenheim Chris Furness says staff have been working hard.

“We are working well and everyone’s putting their best foot forward.

After an initial rush to stockpile prescriptions, people are relaxing a bit, he says

“Like all pharmacies, we are operating under strict Ministry of Health guidelines and I’d like to reassure people that we are open every day. While the focus is on prescriptions, we are available for other items too such as vitamins.”

Jim, who spent some time working as a pharmacist in Blenheim from 2009 until 2013 before moving back to Whitianga. He retired back to Blenheim in 2019.

He says pharmacy staff deserve credit for all they are doing to help the public during lockdown.

“When the Prime Minister and Health Officials speak of front-line health care workers, they cite doctors and nurses. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are front line health care workers, too.

“At a time when hospitals are reducing admissions and are conducting consultations by phone, pharmacy staff are fronting up to every patient who requires their services.

“Scripts are still being written and every one of them is received and dispensed at a pharmacy. The workload can be excessive and demanding, with not all patients being kind or considerate.

“Pharmacies have been doing an excellent job and we are fortunate to have a nation-wide chain of readily accessible health care centres, with people who are providing dedicated service to their communities,” he says.

The Pharmacetical Society of New Zealand is providing members with pharmacy-specific guidance throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

A Covid-19 sign at Wairau Hospital. Photo: Matt Brown.

Covid-19 likely to blame as Marlborough man falls ill

One more probable case of Covid-19 has hit Marlborough after a man in his 50s fell ill.

There are four more cases of Covid-19 in both Nelson and Marlborough bringing the region’s combined total to 44, including three older cases that have been added retrospectively.

 

The number of new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand continues to drop, with 54 new and probable cases announced today, bringing the national total to 1160.

Latest figures revealed by Dr Ashley Bloomfield show that here are 12 people currently in hospital across the country with Covid-19. Four of these people are in intensive care, one in a critical condition.

No patients have been admitted to Wairau Hospital with Covid-19 or associated complications.

Speaking to the media, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the drop shows that the lockdown measures in place during Alert Level 4 appear to be working.

“While I still urge caution, this does suggest that what we are doing as a nation is working.

“There is always a possibility of a set back but we appear at this stage to be on the right track.”

The number of new cases is at its lowest level in two weeks.

Dr Bloomfield says he was “cautiously optimistic” tat the number of new and probable cases were levelling out.

“We will expect the number of cases to stay level before they start to decline.”