21 Sep 2020

Get the latest information on how the shift in COVID-19 alert levels is impacting on Christchurch City Council services and facilities.

Alert level 1 signals return to business as usual

The decision to move most of New Zealand to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 means it will be business as usual again at Christchurch City Council’s public facilities.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed this afternoon that all of New Zealand, apart from Auckland, will move from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 at 11.59pm tonight.  Auckland will move to Alert Level 2 on Wednesday.

“The change in alert levels is good news because it means health officials are confident they have the community cases of COVID-19 contained. The cluster of community cases in Auckland though is a reminder to us all that we need to remain vigilant because our fight against COVID-19 is not over yet,’’ says Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

“Under Alert Level 1, the Council’s public facilities will operate largely as normal. However, we will continue to have QR codes displayed at the entrance to all our facilities so that people can use the NZ COVID Tracer app to record their visit.

“I strongly encourage people to continue to use the tracer app as it will make it easier for health officials to respond quickly and effectively to any community outbreak of COVID-19, should one occur here,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

Face coverings and contact tracing on public transport

From Monday 31 August, all passengers and drivers need to wear face coverings on public transport, while at Alert Level 2 or above.

Environment Canterbury senior manager public transport Stewart Gibbon is encouraging everyone to continue showing kindness and patience as people adjust to this new requirement.

“Please be kind to your fellow passengers and our drivers. It’s important to remember that some people, drivers included, will have legitimate reasons, such as health, for not wearing a face covering.

“We trust that the vast majority of people who can do so will wear one and continue to help stop the spread. While our drivers can remind passengers to put on their face covering when boarding, there are some exemptions to this rule, and our drivers are not able to, or expected to, act as enforcers – and neither are other passengers. We need to rely on everyone taking personal responsibility for their individual situations,'' Mr Gibbon says.

At this stage, information from central Government confirms that face coverings don’t need to be worn in the following situations:

  • By children under 12.
  • On dedicated school services (including Ministry of Education services and Metro school services).
  • By people with a disability or physical or mental health condition that makes covering their face unsuitable.
  • There will be other times when it is not required – such as in an emergency, if unsafe, if people need to prove their identity or to communicate with someone who is deaf, or if required by law.

Learn more about face coverings on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

The importance of contact tracing is high in Alert Level 2, and passengers need to provide contact tracing information whenever they use public transport.

NZ COVID Tracer QR codes are available on all buses and the Diamond Harbour Ferry.  All passengers are now requested to scan the QR code, using the NZ COVID Tracer app, every time they travel on public transport, including if they’ve paid with a registered Metrocard.

Mr Gibbon says Environment Canterbury is working with its operators on a more permanent solution to have more QR codes available on each bus so passengers can more easily scan a code while maintaining physical distancing.

“We’d also like to reassure people not to worry if they do not have a phone that is able to use the QR codes – instead please call the Metroinfo team on 03 366 8855 to have your trip registered.”

Face coverings on buses

From Monday 31 August, wearing a face covering on public transport will be mandatory nationwide, when in Alert Level 2 or higher. 

Environment Canterbury will be working with the Government and its operators over the coming days on how mandatory face coverings will be managed from next Monday. It will have more information to share on this later in the week.

In the meantime, Environment Canterbury's advice remains that if possible, passengers should wear face coverings while using bus services. 

If you are going by bus, it is strongly recommended that you pay by Metrocard. It is contactless and if you have a registered Metrocard with up-to-date contact details, that's your contact tracing done.

Visiting one of our libraries?

When you visit the library, things may look different and we may not be able to work as closely alongside you as normal. However, we’re still here to help! Please be patient with and follow the processes in place to help keep everyone safe.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you feel unwell, please stay at home. Our digital library is available for you to use 24/7.
  • Contact tracing will be in place. You’ll need to sign in when you visit the library using the COVID Tracer app.  You do not need to sign out when you leave.
  • You may have to wait. We may need to restrict the number of people within library spaces at any one time as well as the duration of time spent in there.
  • Children aged 12 and under need to visit the library with an adult.
  • You’ll need to maintain a two-metre physical distance with our staff and customers as you enjoy the library.
  • Our frontline staff may be wearing masks. We may also have screens in place to support physical distancing at some of our counters.
  • Most events expecting more than 50 people will be postponed. However, events within the TSB Space may still go ahead if physical distancing can be maintained.  Please check christchurchcitylibraries.com for the latest information.
  • Regular programmes and events that you enjoy may be postponed, if physical distancing cannot be supported. Please check our event calendar at christchurchcitylibraries.com for the latest information.

Pools and fitness centre changes under Alert Level 2

People can burn-off energy at Christchurch City Council pools and fitness centre under Alert Level 2 but they will need to keep their physical distance from other customers.

“Our pools and fitness centres remain open under Alert Level 2 but people will notice some things are a bit different,’’ says Council Head of Recreation, Sports and Events Nigel Cox.

“All customers will be required to sign in by scanning the QR code with the Government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app. They’ll also see signage throughout our centres reminding them of the need to keep a metre apart from other customers.

“We’ve got hand-sanitiser stations set up throughout our sport and recreation facilities and we are regularly cleaning public areas with a water-based aerosol sanitiser to provider a barrier that stops viruses surviving on surfaces.

Learn more about pools and fitness centres under Alert Level 2.

Weekend sport

Council sports grounds are open under Alert Level 2 and it will be up to the individual sports codes to determine whether their games can proceed this weekend.

If you or your child is scheduled to play sport this weekend, please check with your sporting code’s website for information about whether games are going ahead.

Christchurch Art Gallery and Akaroa Museum stay open

Both the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Akaroa Museum will remain open under Alert Level 2.

However, visitors must sign in by using the national COVID Tracer app and scanning the QR code or providing their contact details at entry points.

People must also maintain physical distancing at both facilities, which may operate at a reduced capacity.

Most public programmes will continue, including the schools programme.

Rubbish and recycling services continuing as normal

The kerbside collection of rubbish and recycling will continue as normal in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula under Alert Level 2 so please put your bins out on your normal collection day.

The EcoDrop transfer stations at Parkhouse Road, Bromley and Styx Mill will also remain open under Alert Level 2. They will accept all standard payment methods - EFTPOS, credit card or cash.

Find out more about rubbish and recycling services under Alert Level 2.

Council well prepared for alert level change

The  Council has been preparing for a change in COVID-19 alert levels for some time and has measures in place to help protect public health.

“Whilst we hoped it would not happen, we have been very conscious that COVID-19 may reappear in the community at some point . We have been preparing for the possibility of a change in alert levels. We have procedures in place to ensure that we keep both our residents and our staff safe,’’ says Acting Mayor Andrew Turner.

 “This is an event we were well prepared for and we have detailed plans in place for how we can continue to provide services to our residents while still adhering to the Government’s health advice.''

Read more from the Acting Mayor.

Call to avoid peak travel times on buses

Bus passengers are being urged to avoid travelling at peak times following the move to Alert Level 2 from noon today.

Environment Canterbury senior manager, public transport, Stewart Gibbon says that the regular bus timetables will continue to operate but the network's urban service capacity will be limited, particularly at peak times.

“We are asking people to avoid using public transport between 7am and 9am and 2.30pm and 5.30pm on weekdays, where possible,” Mr Gibbon says.

However, the Metro school bus network will operate at full capacity because of schools’ ability to contact trace.

Find out more about public transport under Alert Level 2.

COVID Tracer sign-in at all Council facilities

People visiting all Christchurch City Council facilities from noon today will be required to sign in using the national COVID Tracer app and scanning the QR code.

For those people who do not have a smartphone, a sign-in register will be available on entry.

Find out more about contact tracing at Council facilities.

Council facilities remain open under Alert Level 2

Christchurch City Council’s public facilities will remain open under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 but steps will be put in place to ensure people can maintain physical distancing.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last night announced she was moving New Zealand to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 from midday Wednesday 12 August.

Auckland is being moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 because cases of community transmission have been detected there.

The alert level change applies, at this stage, until midnight on Friday 14 August.