Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Man in Rotorua only person in country prosecuted for breaching level 2 restrictions

A Bay of Plenty man has become the sole person prosecuted for failing to comply with alert level 2 restrictions since most of New Zealand shifted out of lockdown.

The man’s arrest came after the country, except Auckland, moved from alert level 4 and into level 2 at 11.59pm on Tuesday.

A police spokeswoman said a man had been prosecuted following an alleged incident on Wednesday afternoon at Rotorua Central Mall.

Police claim the man was not wearing a mask and that he was unable to provide an exemption. The man also allegedly refused to put a mask on when asked to do so by a security guard.

The spokeswoman said the man was asked to put on a mask or leave but he allegedly refused to do either. When the man was approached by police, he allegedly refused to give identifying details and was subsequently arrested.

The 52-year-old’s next court appearance is on September 22. He was charged with failing to comply with an order (Covid-19) and obstructs or hinders an enforcement officer.

The police’s compliance reports are filed each Friday, meaning it is not yet known if anyone else has been arrested for failing to comply with alert level restrictions over the weekend.

“Only one person had been prosecuted in alert level 2 at that point,” the spokeswoman said.

The man’s arrest comes as police announced “a small number of disappointing incidents” at Auckland’s southern boundaries in recent days.

This included the actions of an Auckland couple who allegedly crossed the alert level 4 checkpoint with essential worker exemptions, drove to Hamilton Aiport, then flew to their holiday home in Wanaka.

The couple, a 26-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man will be prosecuted for breaching the current Health Order, by failing to return to their place of residence within the Alert Level 4 area after leaving for approved essential personal movement.

At the Mangatawhiri Rd and State Highway 2 intersection, three people attempted to cross the boundary yesterday claiming they were essential workers. However, their document which contained the letterhead of an essential business was not valid.

The three were warned and directed to return home.

Since alert level 4 came into place in Auckland 67 people have been charged with a total of 71 offences.

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