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Tairāwhiti Prepares For Lockdown

Release date: 24.3.2020

Tomorrow at midnight New Zealand will move to its COVID-19 alert level 4.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told New Zealanders that life will be different - but it is what we have to do to beat the virus.

Tairāwhiti still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Council reiterates the Prime Minister’s message to self-isolate for the next four weeks, to ensure we give our region the best shot at getting through this.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann is encouraging people to remain calm and reminds the community there is no need to panic buy.

Essential services including supermarkets, dairies, gas stations, banks, pharmacies and doctors’ rooms, among others, will remain open.

Because of panic buying, shops have been forced to put in place etiquette around how many people are allowed into shops and limits on what people can buy. These restrictions are not necessary if people remain calm.

“We urge everyone to be patient and considerate. Council understands this is a challenging time - we’re also working to ensure our district comes through this in the best possible way. Our Emergency Coordination Centre has been established and is set up to guide us through these times.”

All of Council’s summer and freedom camping areas are now closed, as is playground equipment, the Olympic Pool, HB Williams Memorial Library and our theatres. Council’s face-to-face services have closed but our website has plenty of information on navigating our services online.

Customer service is operating remotely and can be contacted by phone on 0800 653 800 or email at services@gdc.govt.nz .

While our rubbish collection will continue, we will assess the situation on a daily basis. In the meantime, please make sure you adhere to Council’s recycling guidelines - particularly around NOT putting tissues, wet wipes or other contaminated non-recyclable material into recycling bins. Transfer stations up the Coast will remain open. Also a reminder to never flush rags or wet wipes down toilets as it causes sewage overflows.

The Animal Control team will only be responding to urgent requests for service and decreasing patrolling until further notice. Stock managers and owners are asked to

ensure stock and pets are securely fenced-in and off the State Highway for the entire duration of the lockdown period.

Animal shelters remain in operation during normal working hours however, social distancing protocols are in place for animal collection.

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