New Zealand police have arrested two men who allegedly tried to enter the locked-down city of Auckland with an illicit substance: takeout food. Specifically, they carried three buckets of KFC chicken, 10 containers of coleslaw, and a bunch of fries, in addition to $70,000 in cash and a stash of ounce baggies, according to police. Auckland, importantly, was for a month under a Level 4 lockdown, meaning people had to stay at home unless for essential reasons. All restaurants were closed, even for takeout, per CNN. The rest of the country is under Level 2 restrictions, with restaurants accepting customers.
Officers first spotted a suspicious vehicle traveling along a gravel road near the outskirts of Auckland on Sunday. "Upon seeing the police car, the vehicle did a U-turn and sped off trying to evade police," a police rep says, per the Guardian. The vehicle eventually pulled over, allowing officers to conduct their search, per CNN. Police say the two men, ages 23 and 30, who'd left the city of Hamilton 75 miles south of Auckland, are now to face charges of breaching New Zealand's COVID-19 Public Health Response Act. If convicted, they could face up to six months in prison or a $2,800 fine. Police say further charges are likely.
This comes days after a 20-year-old man was arrested after allegedly posting a TikTok video that showed him leaving Auckland to purchase food from a McDonald's, reports the BBC. The good news for Aucklanders is that they no longer have to go without. The city moved into Level 3 restrictions on Tuesday, meaning restaurants can open for contactless pick-up, delivery, and drive-thru orders. People camped out at one KFC ahead of its opening, per the New Zealand Herald. Acknowledging KFC's "massive customer base in Auckland," Councillor Josephine Bartley even suggested setting up vaccination centers at KFC restaurants so customers could get vaccinations with their food. (Read more New Zealand stories.)