Hamiltonians will continue to have access to the essential services Hamilton City Council provides but its playgrounds and remaining customer-facing sites will close following the move to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and 4.
Alert Level 3 is in place from today (Monday 23 March) requiring public venues to be closed and for businesses and organisations to enforce alternative ways of working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At midnight on Wednesday 25 March, Alert Level 4 will be activated which means people are instructed to stay home unless they are delivering essential services. Non-essential businesses and educational facilities will also be requested to close.
A full review of all of the Council’s services is being undertaken tomorrow and more details will be available then.
The Council wants to reassure residents they can rely on having safe drinking water, being able to flush the toilet and the collection of rubbish and recycling while Alert Level 3 and 4 are in place.
There will potentially be some adjustments to these services - such as delays to rubbish collection and increased water restrictions – and Hamiltonians are being urged to be patient and look out for one another during this time of disruption.
The Council has always had contingency plans in place for a move to measures such as these, and it has been taking pre-emptive steps to protect the wellbeing of Hamiltonians and its staff as the situation has evolved.
As of last Friday, all Council staff who can perform their role from home have been doing so.
On Saturday 21 March, the Council announced the closure of all of its community facilities effective the following day.
All libraries, the Auaha makerspace at the Central Library, the Smart Space in Garden Place, Waikato Museum, Hamilton i-SITE, ArtsPost, Hamilton Zoo, Waterworld, the Gallagher Aquatic Centre and Hamilton Gardens’ themed gardens and Information Centre all closed to the public on Sunday.
From tomorrow, the Hamilton Gardens playground and privately-owned café will be closed, along with the themed gardens and Information Centre. The city’s skate parks, basketball courts and playgrounds will also be closed to the public until further notice, as will the Customer Services centre in the Municipal Building and the Animal Control centre.
Residents can continue to seek assistance from the Council’s Customer Services team by phoning 07 838 6699 or emailing email@example.com.
Council Chief Executive Richard Briggs says the Government’s message is quite clear.
“The most effective way to put the brakes on COVID-19’s spread is to keep people at home. We cannot make any facilities available that encourage people to break those rules. It’s the best way to prevent a widespread outbreak of the virus.”
Mayor Paula Southgate says this is the time for Hamiltonians to look out for their loved ones and their neighbours while still being sensible.
“Whenever our community is asked what they love about Hamilton, they always rate our green spaces. It is difficult to have to deny people access but we must be sensible and vigilant. We have a limited opportunity to stall COVID-19 and we must do whatever we can.”
Briggs wants Hamiltonians to know that their wellbeing remains the Council’s utmost priority.
“We’ll be taking every action possible to ensure that while Alert Level 3 and 4 are in place, Hamiltonians won’t have any additional concerns about if they’ll have access to safe drinking water and the other core services we provide.”