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Well placed now to break Covid chains

Opinion Piece

Here we are, in lockdown. Have to say it didn't look all that different coming into the office this morning.

Horticulture work was getting under way on the Flats. Our food has to keep being produced, of course, as does our wine many will be relieved to know, during this the industry's most crucial time of the year. The workers all have to keep two metres apart from each other and the businesses involved need to have Covid-19 hygiene standards in place, and reinforce health protection measures.

There was still a reasonable amount of traffic on the roads. Hopefully that was all essential workers or people doing essential travel, but no doubt it will take some friendly and then stern warnings and fines to get the lockdown messages through to everyone.

In town, quite a few people were walking neighbourhood streets. Probably a bit of sticky-beaking on this our first morning of the new stay-at-home norm under a national pandemic emergency, but we are encouraged to get out and exercise once a day — sticking to our family group and keeping two metres of distance from anyone else.

A couple of people were lingering on street corners. Anyone doing that is likely to be told to head home by a patrolling officer.

The Gisborne CBD was pretty much dead this morning.

Here at The Herald there are four of us in a newsroom that normally has up to 18. All our reporters bar one are working from their homes, as are most of our sub-editors and a proof-reader. Downstairs it is also minimal staffing, with distancing and hygiene measures in place; the team who handle the paper are wearing gloves. Gloves are going out to our runners, who are being told not to hand-deliver any papers.

OK, to all of you at home: well done everyone. We will all have varying levels of preparation for this lockdown, but can rest assured that essential services are continuing. Supermarkets, pharmacies, health services, fuel stations and most dairies and food stores remain open, so when you do need supplies you can get them. You may have to wait, with spacing, to be allowed in; and get used to being served from behind perspex glass when you do need to make purchases.

What we are all facing in this country will become clearer over the coming week as the now 1pm release of new Covid-19 cases are announced. The number to watch is the suspected community transmissions. We're all doing this to keep that number down, and protect our most vulnerable.