Hamilton City Council is preparing its facilities and services to operate under the Government guidelines for COVID-19 Alert Level 2.
Hamilton will be under Alert Level 2 from 12pm today (Wednesday 12 August), along with the rest of New Zealand excluding Auckland. Auckland will be under Alert Level 3 after four cases of community transmission were discovered in an Auckland family.
The alert levels will initially be in place until midnight Friday 14 August.
All Council facilities will remain open and all services will continue operating under Alert Level 2.
The main change from the previous Alert Level 2 is around the use of masks. People should wear masks in situations where physical distancing is not possible, such as public transport and shops.
Chief Executive Richard Briggs is urging people to play their part to make sure the risk of community transmission is minimised.
“As always, the Council’s priority is keeping our people and our community safe.
“We always knew that going back to Alert Level 2 or higher may happen. We’ve done this before and we can do it again.
“There are simple things everyone can do to help the city get through this. People should stay home if unwell, get tested, and self-isolate until the result is known. Wash your hands regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and keep track of where you’ve been.
“Businesses have a role by making sure the COVID-19 poster is displayed so people can use the contact tracing app, and ensuring people practise physical distancing while on their premises.”
People can be tested for COVID-19 at a drive-through community-based assessment centre Claudelands. The assessment centre is open daily, 9am to 4pm.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate is encouraging residents to simply “do what’s right”.
“We can beat this. But we won’t overcome it by being complacent.
“Let’s not panic, let’s just be prepared. We know what to do – let’s do it. The effort we all put in now will stop this rebounding back and will help us get back on top of it quickly.”
For more information about COVID-19 Alert Level 2, go to covid19.govt.nz.
General guidelines at Council facilities under Alert Level 2
Two-metre physical distancing will be expected at all Council facilities, with signs and floor markings installed to help maintain this. Visitors will be required to check in to facilities, by scanning a QR code using the Government’s NZ COVID Tracer App and by providing staff with their name and contact details. Surfaces at Council facilities will be frequently cleaned, and hand sanitiser will be available for visitors to use. People who are feeling sick or unwell must stay home. Visit the Council website and Facebook page for up-to-date information on what Alert Level 2 means for the Council. Please use these channels for information before contacting the Council due to higher than usual call rates. Customers are also being asked to use online transactions where possible rather than in person at a Council building.
Parks and playgrounds
Playgrounds and public toilets in parks stay open under Alert Level 2. Parents and caregivers will need to be mindful their children are physical distancing at our busy playgrounds. Dogs can still be allowed off lead in off-leash exercise areas.
Organised sport will continue at the city’s sportsgrounds. The codes will be asked to submit a plan describing how they will manage government requirements such as physical distancing and contact tracing.
Waterworld and Gallagher Aquatic Centre will introduce restrictions to ensure swimmers and spectators can stay safely apart. Pools will be available for lane swimming only with limits on numbers per lane. Facilities where physical distancing will be a problem, such as toddler pools and playgrounds and spa and steam rooms, will be closed.
Numbers will be limited at both facilities, including in the gym at Waterworld. Group fitness classes will have maximum numbers, and the Learn to Swim programme is operating as normal, following Swimming New Zealand guidelines.
Hamilton City Libraries
Physical distancing will apply at all branches and numbers will be restricted in some smaller facilities. This may mean a short wait outside some branch libraries until other customers exit. The Auaha makerspace at the Central Library is closed and Wriggle and Rhyme and Storytime have been cancelled until further notice. Updates on other programmes will be provided on the Hamilton City Libraries website and Facebook pages.
Opening hours for the enclosed gardens will change to 10am to 4pm daily. This is due to physical distancing requirements and ensures staff can work along paths and in the enclosed gardens without needing to step aside for customers. The Information Centre and the café will not be accepting cash. Visitors will be required to sign-in to the Information Centre, enclosed gardens and café using a QR code. The café will space out tables and reintroduce other measures, such as a single server per table, required by the Government.
Visitor numbers will be restricted with a one in/one out system in place. Visitors will be required to sign in using a QR code or by providing their name and contact details if they do not have a smartphone. Animal encounters and keeper talks will be suspended. The café will be takeaway only and will not accept cash.
Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, ArtsPost Galleries and Shop, i-SITE
Entry numbers to Waikato Museum and within each gallery will be limited to ensure physical distancing. Visitors will be required to sign in. Exhibitions, including the Dinosaur rEvolution, Exscite and Inventors and Innovations, will remain open with restrictions on numbers. Some interactive elements across the museum will be closed. Visitor numbers will be restricted to 30 people for ArtsPost/i-SITE.
H3 (Claudelands Events Centre, FMG Stadium Waikato, Seddon Park)
Events with 100 people or fewer attendees can continue to take place under Alert Level 2. Measures such as contact tracing, intensive cleaning and room layouts that allow physical distancing are in place to ensure events can continue to take place safely and in confidence. Attendees to events with fewer than 100 people will need to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene practises.
Funeral services will be limited to 100 people. Physical distancing will need to be maintained during services and funeral directors will collect details for contact tracing.
Tomorrow’s meeting of the Community Committee will be subject to physical distancing requirements, with Elected Members attending in-person and via Zoom. The meeting will be live streamed on the Council’s website for the public to watch and uploaded to our YouTube channel. Members of the public can have their say about items on the meeting’s agenda either via Zoom or by providing a written submission.