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QLDC Responds To COVID-19 Border Measures

QLDC Responds to COVID-19 Border Measures

Yesterday’s announcement from the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern advising of new steps to protect New Zealanders from COVID-19 will no doubt have a significant impact on the Queenstown Lakes District.

“First and foremost, we need to acknowledge the impact on the safety, health and economic wellbeing of our community this virus may have at a personal level. This is a difficult time for anyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and our thoughts are with them and their families.” Mayor Jim Boult said.

“It’s at times like these when as a community we need to continue to show solidarity towards each other and our visitors. While being at home with this risk around us is difficult it will be even more challenging if you’re travelling and far from the comforts and security of home,” he said.

“A significant flow on effect for our community is an economic one. It’s no secret that the tourism sector is the district’s largest employer and a sudden and considerable slowdown in visitor numbers is highly likely to affect people’s jobs and income. Even if we remain healthy, we need to be aware and compassionate to the stresses and strains this will put on our community working in this industry.”

“Whilst this is undoubtedly a difficult decision not taken lightly by the Prime Minister, and it is a decision we reluctantly must accept, it will affect our community. Personally, I sincerely hope that this situation is short lived and I will do all in my power to lessen the blow this event will cause,” he said

“This will have a significant and lasting effect on the district. Business will be hit badly, and this may result in job losses. While we all hope the ban will be lifted in 16 days, in reality we should plan for longer,” he said.

“I have called a meeting of senior council staff first thing Monday to enable actions we have already discussed and to consider further steps. In addition, I am meeting with the Minister of Economic Development this week to discuss a package of support for tourism. I have also written to the Minister of Immigration seeking adjustments to work visa conditions to assist those people.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement on the afternoon of 14 March advised of the following measures:

> Every person entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, excluding the Pacific.

> These restrictions will all be reviewed in 16 days’ time.

> Existing travel ban retained for China and Iran

> Cruise ships banned from coming to New Zealand, until at least 30 June 2020

> Strict new health measures at the border for people departing to the Pacific

> A range of measures to assist those in self-isolation to be announced next week

> Government will work closely with the aviation sector to encourage airlines to remain active in New Zealand, limit impacts on the tourism sector and exporters

> Directive on mass gatherings to be announced early next week

Mayor Boult said it was reassuring to see that measures were being put in place to assist those in self-isolation.

“Self-isolation isn’t an easy thing for anything to deal with, especially those on low incomes who may struggle having to take unpaid leave and without a support network. Any assistance that can be provided is essential. And whilst we need to continue to safeguard our own personal health and wellbeing, this is a time for us to pull together as a community and look after one another,” said Mayor Boult.

The QLDC Emergency Management Team is directly working with Southern District Health Board and Ministry of Health to respond to any emerging risks in the district.

In the meantime, the emphasis remains from the Ministry to stay home if unwell and be prepared to self-isolate. If you think you may have the virus do not present at health providers in person, make a call. Follow all advice from the SDHB and Ministry of Health around personal hygiene and other measures to minimise risk of infection and spreading the virus.

ENDS|KUA MUTU.

Media contact: communications@qldc.govt.nz or call 03 441 1802.

Ministry of Health COVID19 advice: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Southern DHB COVID19 advice: https://www.southernhealth.nz/novel-coronavirus

QLDC Emergency preparedness advice: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/community/emergency-management/be-prepared

Otago Civil Defence advice: https://www.otagocdem.govt.nz/get-home-ready

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