Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Takeaway lovers can almost smell level 3 as Auckland prepares to drop down a level
Diehard takeaway fans can almost smell the coffee, chicken, burgers and fries as Auckland gets set to enter level 3 tonight at 11.59pm – and some city residents are already queuing for food.
From midnight, the city moves to level 3 for two weeks. The rest of New Zealand – other than a small pocket of Waikato in “bespoke level 4” – remains at level 2.
As at 11.15pm, the lights are on at McDonald’s on Lincoln Road and there are staff inside the store. There are road cones lined up across the drive-through entrance.
One West Auckland resident arrived just after 11pm to wait for a late-night snack. They aren’t alone – at least five other vehicles are now waiting for the midnight opening.
“We just came for a feed,” she said.
“The masses will be out tomorrow so we thought just come in when we can, while everyone is sleeping.”
McDonald’s says exactly when its restaurants in Auckland open will depend on how quickly each can get everything back up and running.
Some are expected to have food ready to go not long after midnight, but others will not open until between 5am and 7am tomorrow.
“Around 50 Auckland restaurants will be working to open through the night and before 7am, and will initially operate with a restricted menu,” a spokesman told the Herald earlier today.
Part of the preparation have been around traffic management, the spokesman said, acknowledging high levels of traffic congestion seen in and around takeaway stores after the previous level 4 lockdown.
While KFC lovers of West Auckland might have to wait untll the morning for their fix, KFC Lincoln Road do have road cones set up to help with any overflow.
Those heading to the local drive-through are asked to remember to wear a mask.
“Level 4 has done the job we needed it to do … level 3 is not opening up,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
“Level 3 is still ‘stamp it out’.”
While cafes, restaurants and takeaways can open in level 3, all purchases, pick-ups and delivery must be contactless.
Small events like weddings and tangihanga are now allowed in level 3, with up to 10 people only.
Level 3 also brings some good news to the keen surfer or mountain biker. Activities such as surfing, tramping, horse-riding and mountain biking are allowed in level 3, as long as you are experienced – and local.
If you are heading to the likes of KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jnr and Taco Bell, do not forget your Eftpos card. They will not accept cash under alert level 3.
KFC will offer a slightly reduced menu, a spokesman for Restaurant Brands said.
“Burgers will be phased in over the next couple of days. This is simply due to product delivery times,” he said.
Domino’s Pizza is celebrating Auckland’s move to level 3 by offering customers a free lava cake with every $20-plus delivery order tomorrow.
The company’s general manager, Cameron Toomey, said they wanted to celebrate and recognise the effort Aucklanders had made the last few weeks to help control the spread of Covid-19.
One punter is so eager to get their hands on some fried chicken they have pitched a tent on the grass next to the Papakura KFC in a bid to get to the front the queue.
A video posted to TikTok shows a small blue tent a few metres from the drive-thru speaker.
“People camping out waiting for KFC to open tomorrow,” the woman filming the video says. “Bring on level 3!”
The hungry Aucklander’s move lit up social media and many dived in to poke fun at those desperate for some takeaway.
The appeal for KFC has been all too much for some. Two gang associates were this week arrested at the southern Auckland border with a boot full of KFC trying to get back into Auckland.
Officers became suspicious of a vehicle on a gravel road and pulling a U-turn before speeding off, trying to evade police.
The vehicle eventually pulled over and police discovered it had been travelling from Hamilton trying to get into Auckland, a police spokesperson said.
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