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Marlborough District Council Responds To COVID-19

Marlborough District Council has taken a close look at its services and operations to ensure they are ready in case the coronavirus develops in the Marlborough community and Council’s staff numbers become reduced through sickness.

Chief Executive Mark Wheeler says the Council’s management team has reviewed all its services to ensure they are able to be run under different resourcing levels, in case some staff did become sick.

“Water supply, effluent disposal, waste disposal and road maintenance are our core ‘lifeline’ services.”

“I’m confident we have the systems and the trained personnel to deliver all these services, even with up to a 50% staff sick sickness rate. We are planning for the worst but hoping for the best,” he says.

“We’ve been through emergencies before and have invested in modern water management systems that can be monitored and operated remotely.”

“We will also ensure our core statutory functions like resource consenting can continue, which are important for facilitating Marlborough’s economic growth, house building and subdivision.

“We are investing in more laptops and IT support so a greater number of our staff can work remotely. We already have a very good IT system. I’m encouraging staff to minimise face to face meetings, maintain two-metre social distancing where meetings are necessary, and use the phone, email, teleconferencing and videoconferencing instead.”

“We’re also considering moving our Council and committee meetings to a larger space so that councillors and the public can practice social distancing more comfortably.”

“We have also increased cleaning and sanitary services to ensure our own buildings, libraries and public counters are as clean as possible.”

“In addition we have ramped up staff hygiene support, which we do every winter for the flu, with more signage, soap and sanitiser.”

“Staff are told not to come to work if they feel ill and to call Healthline for advice and we’re ensuring that our messaging is accurate and consistent.”

“We are still considering our options regarding our Annual Plan hearings process this year.”

Marlborough’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Welfare function is also ready to support the response to COVID-19, led by the Ministry of Health and the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board.

CDEM Group Manager Brian Paton advises if people have symptoms that could be related to COVID-19, or are self-isolating, they should call the dedicated Healthline 0800 358 5453 number first.

“Most people who self-isolate will be able to look after themselves with the support of family, whanau and friends. Our welfare team will be there as a backup to support people who need additional support such as emergency accommodation or basic supplies and are unable to manage those needs through their usual sources,” he says.

For further information on COVID-19 please go to the Ministry of Health and All of Government websites at www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus and www.covid19.govt.nz

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