Easter holidaymakers told to stay home during coronavirus lockdown

Holidaymakers are being asked by health officials to stay home this Easter weekend as the COVID-19 lockdown continues.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says New Zealanders need to stick to the lockdown rules otherwise they won't be effective at minimising the spread of coronavirus.

"If we are going to make the most of this period in this alert level and the signs are promising, we're cautiously optimistic everyone needs to keep their foot on the pedal and that includes over Easter have a staycation."

During the lockdown, there's already been 291 breaches, 16 prosecutions and 263 warnings handed out and officials don't want to see anymore.

Police are promising to patrol the highways to all popular holiday hotspots to ensure no one flouts the country's COVID-19 rules.

Popular holiday communities are also asking people to stay away.

Akaroa which is a popular place for south islanders to relocate to over the four day weekend is currently empty, and the town's 700 residents want to keep it like that.

Resident Kev Kerr says: "We're isolated, there's no cases here so we don't want people coming over here to bring it with them.” 

Janine Slagter owns the Fish and chip shop on the main street and says this will be her first Easter off in 13 years, but she's happy to make the sacrifice.

"I think people even taking the risk of coming over the hill, I don't think for one the locals would be happy. 

"It wouldn't surprise me if they set up their own barricade at the top of the hilltop. We don't want it in Akaroa."

Further west at Castle Hill Village the sentiments are the same.

Tonight 60 residents are sitting out the lockdown at the remote mountainous location and they too don't want Easter holidaymakers turning up.

Resident Paul Nicholls says people need to stay where they are.

"I think you make your choice before the lockdown and you stick with that choice and that's the way to do it, stay close to home whatever you're doing."