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Covid-19: Wellington City Council Update – 25 March

Alert level 4 lockdown starts tonight – and a national state of emergency has been declared. This is an obvious indication of how serious this Covid-19 situation is.

Wellington’s Emergency Operations Centre in Thorndon is now up and running and is plugged-in to what’s happening regionally – mainly via the regional Emergency Coordination Centre - and nationally.

The city’s 115 playgrounds are now closed – please don’t let your children use them – the equipment poses a risk of Covid-19 spread and of course people shouldn’t be congregating in close proximity anywhere.

The Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park, Berhampore Golf Course, the Zoo and Zealandia are also closed for the same reason.

Regarding the Makara Park MTB, it’s about reinforcing the Government directive to stay home and this is not a time to be involved in risk taking activities that could divert our medical services into non-essential activities.

Kerbside recycling collections will be halted in Wellington City from midnight tonight (Wednesday 25 March) until further notice.

There are two reasons for the halt to collections – both based on health and safety.

First, Wellington City Council’s contractors, like most other employers, have a limited staff roster and so we must ensure they focus first and foremost on collecting rubbish – which is an essential public health service.

Second, our recycling operation involves a high degree of hand sorting of recyclable products, both when going into the trucks (for glass) and at the Oji plant in Seaview. Workers there manually sort recyclables along a series of conveyor belts.

Given we understand the Covid-19 virus can remain active for up to three days on some surfaces like plastic, metal and glass, workers are facing too great a risk.

This will likely be disappointing for avid recyclers, but while alert level 4 continues, we cannot keep the operation going. That leaves the choices of either putting your recycling into your yellow rubbish bags or private waste collection wheelie-bins or, if you don’t want your recyclables to be landfilled, then wash them thoroughly as you always should and safely stockpile them until the recycling service resumes.

Further important points:

· The weekly rubbish collection service (rubbish collected in official yellow Wellington City Council bags) is continuing as normal.

· The Southern Landfill is closed to the general public.

· Private-sector wheelie-bin rubbish collections will continue as normal.

· Wellington City Council yellow rubbish bags are available at supermarkets – there is no shortage of stock and bags are being delivered to supermarkets within 48 hours of them being ordered.

· Purchasing, orders and deliveries of recycling bags, wheelie bins and wheelie bin clips, and green crates have ceased for the time-being.

Join our libraries online - Wellington City Libraries has now ensured non-members can temporarily sign-up to access thousands of online resources from the comfort of their own home.

Anyone currently in Wellington can join Wellington City Libraries (WCL) online.

This means people can access thousands of online resources, books, newspapers, magazines, movie and music streaming services; or online learning and language courses during the COVID-19 closedown.

Libraries are important spaces to support, engage, educate and entertain people. As everyone apart from essential services are being asked to stay at home, we have made some key changes to our services to support peoples’ wellbeing over the coming weeks.

The first was enabling people to get a full library membership when they join the library online – which they can do as of today.

We have already extended the due date for all items currently on loan to 4 May 2020. So there is no need for customers to renew their items or return them. Please stay home and keep any items with you. If the Government is required to extend the COVID-19 restrictions, we will automatically extend all items again for the duration. So no one will be charged new overdue fees.

We are now looking at how we can provide some of our popular programmes via livestream or video. So stay up-to-date on our latest developments by visiting our website wcl.govt.nz. You can also email enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or message us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

How to join Wellington City Libraries (WCL) online:

- Wellington residents, students and people currently staying or working in the city are able to join the libraries online

- Complete the WCL online form at wcl.govt.nz/join

- Our Libraries team will email you with your new library card number, which you can then use to access the online resources.

- Your initial membership will be for six months. Once the current restrictions are lifted, you can visit any of our 12 libraries to sign the application form, so we can extend your membership.

- Once you have your library card number you can access the full range of library eResources at wcl.govt.nz/elibrary

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