Christchurch City Council has been preparing for community spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and is well placed to continue to safely operate its facilities and provide essential services to residents.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Christchurch, along with the rest of New Zealand, will shift from the Orange setting on the COVID-19 Protection Framework to Red at 11.59pm on Sunday 23 January because of the rising risk of Omicron spreading in the community.
The red setting allows businesses to remain open and domestic travel to continue, but includes mask wearing and gathering restrictions to help slow the spread of the virus and keep pressure off the health system.
“People are still very welcome at our public facilities under the Red setting and in many ways it will be business as usual. There will though be public health measures in place, such as physical distancing, to help keep everyone safe,’’ says Council Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale.
“We already require those aged over 12 to have a My Vaccine Pass and to wear a mask at facilities such as libraries, pools and sport and recreation centres and this requirement will continue under the Red, setting,’’ Mrs Baxendale says.
“There will also be capacity limits at our facilities to allow for one metre physical distancing.
“The other key change relates to those hiring Council facilities for events or gatherings. Under the Red traffic lighting setting, they will only be allowed to have a maximum of 100 people in attendance, if they are using My Vaccine Passes.
“If event organisers are not intending My Vaccine Passes, they will only be allowed to have 25 people in attendance,’’ says Mrs Baxendale.
There is no change to the Council’s kerbside collection service under the Red setting and the EcoDrop transfer stations and recycling centres at Metro Place, Styx Mill and Parkhouse Road remain open to the public. People do not need a My Vaccine Pass to access these facilities.
The Council’s online services and resources, such as those provided by the libraries, will also continue to be available for the public to use.
Mrs Baxendale says the Council is well placed to continue to safely operate its public facilities and to provide services to residents under the Red setting.
“We have business continuity plans in place to ensure that if we do get high case numbers in Christchurch we can still deliver the services that residents rely on.
“It is important that if you are visiting one of our facilities that you use NZ COVID tracer app to scan in, or manually sign in, and wear a mask. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms - no matter how mild - get a test and stay at home.
“Please do not come to our facilities if you are feeling unwell or if you are meant to be self-isolating.’’