Home > Global, Social Issues > Life in Lock Down: Day 1

Life in Lock Down: Day 1

.

.

Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations

.

Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief moment, as the countdown moved to one minute to midnight, everything changed.

Those of us not doing a graveyard shift went to bed knowing that tomorrow morning we would be waking up into a changed world.

We were not to be disappointed.

Just after 9AM, I left the house. Carrying my packed lunch; my work satchel containing – amongst other things – a letter from my employer identifying my role in the health sector; and most important, my third coffee for the day. Jump into the car and crawl out of the driveway. Driving past the normally packed Park & Ride carpark, there is only one car sitting alone in a large barren expanse of bitumen.

On the motorway, the traffic was almost non-existent. At any moment there were no more than three or four cars travelling either in my direction or on-coming.

Most jarring was the neanderthal moron who – on a near-deserted highway – decided to tailgate me for several kilometres. Note to the driver of silver Toyota Van ELJ368, the cloth/paper facemask you wore whilst driving a few metres behind me at 100ks won’t help you much if I suddenly have to brake. Dick.

Despite the supposed order to stay at home, two bicycle riders along SH2 and a lone middle aged male walking along the harbour-side of the motorway, obviously decided that the global emergency did not apply to them. It was an indication of things to come, unfortunately.

The entire trip took half the time it normally did. The Terrace Tunnel was empty bar a couple of on-coming vehicles.

And then, Wellington City. Unnervingly near empty streets. I was thankful for the few cars and pedestrians who were present. Total emptiness would have been too much and I would lost it.

Victoria Street, looking north;

.

.

Looking south,

.

.

Cuba Street, looking north,

.

.

Vivian Street, looking back towards the Terrace Tunnel,

.

.

Taranaki Street, looking north,

.

.

Looking south,

.

.

New World in Miramar – embarrassingly plentiful carparking,

.

.

Even more deserted at Kilbirnie Pak N Save – and nary a toilet paper hoarder in sight,

.

.

Likewise Countdown in Kilbirnie. Singing, “Where have all the shoppers gone, long since bought up large…”

.

.

Who’s feeling silly now, I wonder?

Onepu Road, looking south,

.

.

Looking north, toward Wellington CBD,

.

.

Newtown, Constable Street, looking east toward the airport,

.

.

Adelaide Road, looking north toward Wellington CBD,

.

.

Looking south, toward the Zoo,

.

.

These guys got the memo on social distancing,

.

.

Another jogger who thought lock-down obviously translated to “time-for-a-run-because-this-shit-don’t-apply-to-me”,

.

.

Adelaide Road toward the Basin Reserve,

.

.

Kent and Cambridge Terraces, looking north,

.

.

At around 10.30AM it suddenly dawned on me…

I had seen joggers, bicyclists, a couple of skateboarders and random individuals and couples out and about. There were a few cars, vans, and even a couple of camper vans (who were on the move to carry on their holidays? More on that shortly.)

But no police.

Not a single police constable or vehicle until the first policecar was seen turning a corner into Cambridge Terrace.

Courtney Place, looking east,

.

.

And west,

.

.

Despite the above two images showing an apparently deserted street, there were people strolling along. “Stay at home”? Not likely.  And for the most part, when passing each other, the two metre distancing rule was not followed.

Lambton Quay, looking south. The “Golden Mile” is normally jam-packed with traffic, buses, office workers, and consumer-citizens on their holy mission to Shop. Today, it was a scene from ‘The Quiet Earth‘ with only Bruno Lawrence in his white negligee missing-in-action,

.

.

Looking north, a lone bus was on a forlorn search for passengers,

.

.

As I took the above image, there was something else I began to notice. Parked on either side of the road; cars.

And in the side streets from Lambton Quay,

.

.

Why so many cars?

I hoped that they were from inner city apartment dwellers – and not office workers sneakily coming in to work, ignoring the lock down. If people are sneak-working, their unmitigated selfishness is endangering the entire country, economy, and other workers’ jobs.

And then there were these two muppets in their campervans. All campers/travellers have been ordered to stay put. But obviously the entire country can go get f****d, because by Thor these self-entitled morons were determined not to let a global pandemic and the deaths of thousands of people interfere with their jolly nice time in Aotearoa.

If either one of these camper vans contained a person with covid19, they will be spreading the disease along their travels. Every place they stop, they could potentially spread infection,

.

.

.

Or maybe they have immunity to covid19? I want me some of that!

Just before mid-day, I park up on another near-deserted street in Johnsonville. Lunch is pre-made; left-over cold pork slices on Roggenbrot Rye, with picked figs from my tree. No coffee… I stare at my empty coffee cup longingly. I think Churchillian thoughts of self-sacrifice…

I stay in my car; a cocoon of steel and glass, (hopefully) impenetrable to the virus. Unless the virus has mutated to penetrate through glass and metal, I’m safe. I listen to RNZ; a story of a widow who will be spared the ugly spectacle of the trial of the Christchurch terrorist (whose name shall not be mentioned). Grim… and still hard to comprehend that one demented individual could destroy so many lives.

And still no cops to be seen.

Until – Johnsonville. I see a police vehicle slowly crawl into the Mall carpark and park. Three constables alight and disappear into a nearby store,

.

.

They enter a shop that was open to the public. Snatches of conversation indicate they were questioning the store owner. The store owner could be heard explaining that MPI had given them permission to open,

.

.

The store is a ‘specialist’ retailer stocking imported grocery items (store name deleted to deter possible harassment). It does have a considerable range of goods (far wider than The Warehouse, for sure!) and probably constitutes a ‘superette’ not dissimilar to a ‘Four Square‘. The sign at the entry stipulates one customer to enter at any given time,

.

.

Tough call. The police seem satisfied and leave. Some cynics may question if police have “nothing better to do than harass law-abiding shop-keepers”.

Screw that.

We are living in perilous times and if we don’t all act in unison, then we – as a thinking, rational (*cough*) species – will be defeated by a microsopic mindless organism that isn’t even aware of itself or us. The more some people “piss” around, the longer this goes on.

After the shenanigans from The Warehouse, and other businesses “trying it on”, the role of the Police will be vital to prevent the lock-down turning into a massive, leaking sieve. Otherwise, this;

.

.

Few people I saw out and about could have reasonable excuses. Certainly not grocery shopping. (The lack of groceries; grocery bags, or a near-by supermarket kinda gave it away.)

Those who were out jogging, biking, strolling casually through the streets of Wellington were indulging their whims at the expense of others. The longer some people treat this lock-down as a holiday for recreational activities, the longer the virus circulates through the country and the longer the state of emergency will last.

What do we need to drive this home? Dead bodies? No problem; the virus will eventually oblige us.

And throughout all this, police presence was minimal. During my drive from the Hutt Valley to a client in Miramar and then to Johnsonville, I spotted one police vehicle turning into Kent Terrace; one Police “paddy-wagon” turning from Harris Street in to Jervois Quay at about 11AM; a parked (empty) police car near the Police National HQ, and finally the police action in Johnsonville.

If this lock down is not to collapse into a dangerous farce, with foolish people treating it like an impromptu holiday, the Police need to “up their game”. Their presence must be felt if they are serious in deterring flouters of the lock-down. Jobs, our economy, and lives are riding on this.

The public are the ones meant to be on “lock-down”, not the New Zealand Police.

.

“You can go for a walk or a bike ride around your neighbourhood to get some exercise. You can go out to get essentials like food. But stay away from other people. No stopping to chat – even if you are two metres away from each other. Just give a wave and keep moving. Because the virus can live on surfaces for up to three days, don’t take your kids to the playground. Stay at home.” –  Siouxsie Wiles, 26 March 2020

.

.

Note: The author works in the wider Health sector and is part of an essential service; with specific clients to attend to. During the weekend, the author will be on lock down at home.

.

.

.

References

Democracy Now: Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned to Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in Coronavirus Deaths

RNZ: Widow -“I am relieved we won’t have to sit through a trial”

The Spinoff:  Siouxsie Wiles & Toby Morris – You’re waking up in lockdown New Zealand. Here’s how it works

Previous related blogposts

The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus

.

.

.

 

Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson

.

This blogpost was also published on The Daily Blog on 28 March 2020.

.

.

= fs =

  1. Sam
    27 March 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Practice for the resource wars

  1. 28 March 2020 at 12:00 pm
  2. 29 March 2020 at 11:59 am
  3. 30 March 2020 at 12:00 pm
  4. 31 March 2020 at 11:59 am
  5. 1 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  6. 2 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  7. 3 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  8. 4 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  9. 5 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  10. 6 April 2020 at 6:41 am
  11. 6 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  12. 7 April 2020 at 7:57 am
  13. 7 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  14. 8 April 2020 at 12:50 pm
  15. 9 April 2020 at 1:00 pm
  16. 10 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  17. 11 April 2020 at 1:59 pm
  18. 12 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  19. 13 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  20. 14 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  21. 16 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  22. 17 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  23. 18 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  24. 20 April 2020 at 12:01 pm
  25. 21 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  26. 22 April 2020 at 12:01 pm
  27. 24 April 2020 at 2:03 pm
  28. 25 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  29. 27 April 2020 at 11:59 am
  30. 29 April 2020 at 12:00 pm
  31. 30 April 2020 at 12:00 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: