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Call for calm as lockdown approaches

23 Mar 2020

Call for calm as lockdown approaches

With the nation in at least a 4-week lockdown to try and contain the spread of COVID-19, Gisborne District Council is moving to reassure the region, encourage everyone to keep themselves and their whanau safe, and remain calm.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just announced the country is moving to COVID-19 alert level three immediately and four within 48 hours. This is the elimination phase and means everyone in New Zealand must stay home. Cease all non-essential travel. Essential services including supermarkets, service stations, medical centres and pharmacies, among others, will remain open.

All educational facilities will close from tomorrow (Tuesday) however, children of emergency workers including fire, police, ambulance workers, doctors, nurses and those who work in petrol stations, supermarkets or food supply areas have until Wednesday to sort alternate arrangements for their children.

Those venturing out should continue to practice social distancing by remaining two metres apart, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands regularly.

Council has closed all of its facilities, including the HB Williams Library and Olympic Pool. Council’s customer services at Awarua Fitzherbert Street, Bright Street, Te Puia and the cemetery are also shut are all public toilets throughout the region. City Watch and parking wardens have ceased operation as well as environmental health and animal control officers.

All playgrounds with equipment are also now closed but neighbourhood parks will remain open. The region’s camping areas are now closed too. If local people are using those areas to self-isolate, they should contact Civil Defence (through council’s webpage) to find a suitable alternative.

Council’s Emergency Coordination Centre has been stepped up and is well prepared to guide the community through these unprecedented and challenging times. ECC will coordinate community initiatives across the region, linking the vulnerable who need help with willing volunteers.

Tairāwhiti’s kerbside collection service will continue as normal and people are reminded to ensure their recycling is sorted with no tissues, wipes or possibly infected materials. The refuse station will remain open but will accept eftpos only – no cash. Council’s customer service line 0800 653 800 will also remain open.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz will be giving daily briefings each afternoon through Facebook Live.

For information and guidelines, head to www.covid19.govt.nz(external link) and keep an eye on our webpage – www.gdc.govt.nz(external link) and Facebook page for updates.