21 Mar 2020

Christchurch City Council is closing down all its community facilities from 4pm Saturday 21 March.

That means there will be no public access to libraries, sport and recreation centres, pools, community centres, service centres,  the Christchurch Art Gallery and the visitors' centre in the Botanic Gardens until further notice.

Mary Richardson, who is leading Christchurch City Council’s COVID-19 Incident Management Team, says the Council is closing the facilities to support the Government’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

“There is no sign of community transmission in Christchurch and we still only have two confirmed cases, both of which relate to overseas travel.

“However, other towns and cities are starting to see more cases so we want to move early to limit the spread of the virus in our communities by closing facilities where people gather,’’ Ms Richardson says.

“We have been in daily contact with the Medical Officer of Health about how we can support efforts to fight COVID-19. The initial advice was that we should keep our facilities open as long as possible because they help create a sense of normalcy in people’s lives.

“On Friday we announced we were keeping facilities open but operating them at reduced capacity so that we could ensure users could stay at a safe distance from each other.

“In light of the Prime Minister's address to the nation and the increase in COVID-19 cases around the country,  we have again consulted with the Medical Officer of Health and have decided this is the right time to close our facilities.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but it is a sensible precaution to take in this fast-evolving pandemic,'' Ms Richardson says.