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Christmas In MIQ

While many New Zealanders are looking forward to a summer break, our work to protect Aotearoa New Zealand from COVID-19 doesn’t stop.

Managed Isolation staff have worked incredibly hard to give New Zealanders the freedoms we’re all able to enjoy this Christmas. We want to thank all of the amazing people working at our managed isolation and quarantine facilities. MIQ staff are our frontline defence against COVID-19 and every day they keep returning New Zealanders and our communities safe.

Many of our Covid workers will be away from their whānau over the Christmas period to help keep Covid out of New Zealand. While many of our workers are familiar with working over the festive period (NZDF, Police, health workers, hotel employees for example) this year is different for everyone and we owe them our support.

The facilities they work in follow strict safety protocols, workers use PPE and are given daily health checks and regular COVID tests.

They have done a superb job throughout 2020 and we thank them for their continued commitment to the job over the festive season.

Festive celebrations

We are committed to giving returnees the best festive experience we can in a Managed Isolation facility, while keeping them and our staff and communities safe from COVID-19.

On Christmas Day we’re expecting around 5,724 returnees in our 32 facilities so that we can safely bring New Zealanders home.

Hotels are used to looking after people and showing manaakitanga (hospitality) through the festive season. Staff across the facilities are organising a range of different festive activities and experiences for returnees, including special festive meals for Christmas day, Christmas trees and music.

We are encouraging returnees to create festive window art with whatever they have to hand. We are also planning several surprises for returnees to bring them some festive cheer.

We’ve been reassured that Santa will be allowed into Aotearoa this year. When visiting managed isolation facilities, he will of course strictly follow all health and safety rules.

Most facilities have had Christmas trees and decorations up for a few weeks, Christmas music playing etc. Other examples of festive cheer across different facilities:

· A reindeer food station will be set-up outside for the kids to feed them the night before Christmas.

· Stockings on the door on Christmas morning filled with treats

· Festive photo competitions

· One facility has engaged with a local school to get the children to write generic Christmas cards for returnees

· An ‘in-house’ Santa is rumoured to be onsite at one facility on Christmas Day

Some facilities are extending the good cheer out to New Year’s Eve, such as petit fours and a glass of bubbles to have at midnight

Food on Christmas day

Most Managed Isolation facilities are planning some special festive fare for the big day, like:

· cookies for children on Christmas Eve

· special Christmas themed menus for break, lunch and dinner

· ‘high-tea’ style lunch

· Picnic themed lunch

· Complimentary glass of bubbles or sparking grape juice

Menus will vary across the facilities, but returnees will be tucking into a variety of festive fare, such as roast turkey with stuffing; glazed ham, tofu and mushrooms for the vegetarians, and sweet treats such as pavlova with strawberries, Xmas mince pies and candy canes.

Guest wellbeing

Being in managed isolation is challenging, especially during the festive season when many returnees will be apart from whānau and loved ones. We will be reminding returnees that information and tools are available to help them feel mentally well and get through isolation. Their first point of contact is the on-site health staff. We are also mindful that not all returnees will celebrate the festive season.

Staff wellbeing

Supporting the wellbeing of our MIQ workers in the holiday period is a priority. Managers will be recognising their staff for their great mahi!

© Scoop Media

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