Two Auckland men pass police checkpoint to go to Hamilton casino amid Level 3 restrictions

Two Auckland men who left the city, which is under Alert Level 3 lockdown, got through a police checkpoint and ended up going to a Hamilton casino.

SkyCity Hamilton. Source: Google Maps

Following the move to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 at midday Wednesday, SkyCity Auckland's casino, food and beverage venues and the Sky Tower have closed and SkyCity is also not be taking any new hotel guests, however its casinos elsewhere are still operating at Level 2.

However, two men from Auckland visited SkyCity Hamilton on Thursday - a day after lockdown began.

"After the customers stated they had travelled from Auckland that day, SkyCity Hamilton staff took a proactive approach, asking the customers to leave the premises," a spokesperson for SkyCity told 1 NEWS.

Meanwhile, a police spokeswoman said "inquiries are ongoing in terms of what follow-up action will be taken" against the pair.

"Checkpoints are operating across Auckland's regional boundaries to ensure people are complying with the essential travel requirement orders," she said.

"Unfortunately, there will be people in our communities who are untruthful regarding their reasons for travel and that is incredibly disappointing."

Police have been stopping every vehicle attempting to travel through each checkpoint and, along with members of the New Zealand Defence Force, officers have been speaking to every driver about their reason for travel.

"To a certain extent, police and NZDF staff have to accept at face value the reasons for travel provided by motorists," the police spokeswoman said.

"Police are taking a firm but friendly approach, with a focus on engagement, encouragement and education."

However, she said the vast majority of people had been complying with the Government-imposed restrictions.

As at 5pm on Saturday, around 50,500 vehicles had been stopped at checkpoints - of which, only 676 were turned around as non-essential travel.

Under Alert Level 3, travel is restricted. People can travel within the area they live, including, going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise. Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements.

People should also stay in household bubbles where possible, but may expand to include close family and whānau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people.

Under Level 3, people should also maintain physical distancing when out, as well as wear a face covering.

The SkyCity spokesperson said, in other parts of the country, the business had implemented extensive health and safety measures, including social distancing and extra cleaning, while it operates at Level 2.

SkyCity is also using facial recognition technology to record customer visitation to ensure SkyCity can support the Ministry of Health with contact tracing, if required.

"All SkyCity customers are being advised to stay home if sick, sanitise or wash hands regularly, practice good cough and sneeze etiquette and respect appropriate physical distancing while on site," the spokesperson said.

"The health and safety of our staff and guests is SkyCity’s number one priority and as such we continue to work closely with the government and health experts during this time."