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Mayor Urges Hamiltonians To Keep Distance Outdoors

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate is urging people to keep their distance at popular outdoor spots following the government’s decision to extend Alert Level 3 in Hamilton.

The city’s playgrounds and facilities, including skate parks and basketball courts, completely closed when Hamilton returned to Alert Level 3 earlier this month. While parks, walkways and river paths remain open, people must stick to their bubbles and maintain two-metres distance from others.

Yet Mayor Paula Southgate said many Hamiltonians have contacted her, worried about the lack of physical distancing at busy outdoors spaces. People were also concerned about too few masks being worn, she said.

“There’s a lot of confusion out there with many people thinking we’re in some kind of softer Level 3, like Auckland. We are not. I have raised this confusion with officials and asked them to make it a lot clearer,” she said.

“It’s concerning to see people without masks failing to steer clear of others on crowded pathways or picnicking in large groups. People are simply breaking the rules, either because they don’t understand them or they are not taking those rules seriously enough. Well, they need to or this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Unlike Auckland, Hamilton remains at full Alert Level 3 restrictions, meaning no picnics, walks or gatherings are allowed with people outside of your bubbles.

“We’ve had some stunning weather and I can understand why people want to get outside and enjoy our green spaces,” Mayor Southgate said. “But let’s keep our distance, especially at busy spots such as the river path and around the lake.”

“Each time someone breaks their bubble, it puts our wider community at risk. To keep each other safe and to re-open our city, we need to do better.”

Hamilton’s parks and walking tracks remain open, so children and caregivers can enjoy the city’s outdoors. People can kick a ball around at the park, go for a jog or a bike ride, and enjoy the warmer weather, as long as they stick to their bubble and stay two metres away from other people.

“I was really heartened to see so many people get vaccinated over the weekend. Hang in there Hamilton – stick to your bubbles, keep your distance, wear masks, get vaccinated. Think of our local business people who are really suffering as well. This is incredibly hard on them.”

To read more about Alert Level 3 in Hamilton, you can visit here.

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