Southlanders back on Alert

    Paul McKinlay’s Barbershop owner Paul McKinlay was ready for customers going into Alert Level 2 yesterday.

    SOUTHLANDERS jumped into action yesterday, reacting to the news the region would return to Alert Level 2 rules at noon.

    Supermakets were the first to notice an increase in customers rushing in when doors opened.

    Hygiene practises and social distancing rules were already in place at Pak’nSave yesterday morning.

    Invercargill resident Jendi Tipu usually bought her weekly groceries on Wednesdays, but decided to buy “a bit more, just in case”.

    “It [the supermarket] is definitely extra busy this morning. I think everyone decided to do their shopping today.

    “When I heard the news last night, I just thought, ‘not again’. I feel sorry for small businesses and elderly people – they are the most affected.”

    Baillie and Lewis Pharmacy advised people through social media that face masks had temporarily sold out.

    They also had a limit of four customers at a time in the store.

    Schools around the region were working to get ready for Alert Level 2.

    Southland Boys’ High School associate rector Ray Laurenson said the best thing about it was it had been done before.

    “Re-establishing what we did coming back, with a few alterations done it before so we’re better at it.”

    He said there would be signs and hand sanitiser, and there were expectations visitors would sign in.

    Rector Simon Coe was away at camp, and Mr Laurenson said it would continue for now.

    A major change was the assessment calendar could be brought forward to try to get as much in before any potential lockdown.

    “The chances are very strong this is going up rather than down, as far as alert levels.”

    The school ball was set for September 25, and no adjustments would be made yet – this would change if Alert Level 3 began.

    He said they were instructed last week to start having a supply of masks, but that number was limited.

    “The expectation is that they’re used as required by those who are potentially immune-compromised at this point.”

    As the region was returning to its “new normal”, many events were postponed or cancelled.

    The Southern Oyster Bash at Transport World, set to be held on Saturday, had been cancelled and event manager Adam Reinfield said the safety of guests was paramount.

    “We wanted nothing more than to be able to celebrate and enjoy a fantastic evening alongside our guests at the Southern Oyster Bash.

    “Given the uncertainty of the situation, we are taking a precautionary approach and the event has been cancelled accordingly.”

    ILT Stadium Southland also had a busy weekend ahead and manager Nigel Skelt said they would try to do everything possible to keep the events going as scheduled, while following the health guidelines.

    Staff and community well-being was the priority, Mr Skelt said.

    This weekend the Stadium would host a volleyball competition on Friday and the NZCAF Otago & Regional Aerobic & Hip-hop competition from Friday to Sunday with about 250 athletes competing.

    “We are working out to find solutions. The next 24 hours will be important to understand what is needed and the guidelines. Definitely it’s a challenging time but we will try to keep providing our services while keeping the community safe.”

    Rugby Southland marketing co-ordinator Jack King said yesterday morning, plans for the Galbraith Shield final on Saturday were still proceeding.

    “We’re waiting on direction from New Zealand Rugby.”

    As soon as the association was given direction, it would let the rugby clubs and the public know, he said.

    “We’re preparing that we can do it until we hear differently,” he said.

    The Invercargill Netball Centre was also waiting on direction from its national body yesterday morning.

    Invercargill Netball Centre manager Hayley Sanford said Netball New Zealand was holding a meeting.

    “We may know by lunch time (yesterday) but we’re not sure.”

    People wanting to check whether netball games were being played should check out the Covid-19 page on the netball centre’s website, she said.

    Barbershop owner Paul McKinlay was all set to go yesterday morning with sign in sheets and hand sanitiser at the door for customers.

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