Accessing Council services under the Red setting

Published on 09 December 2021

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Last Friday, we all woke to life under the Government’s new ‘traffic light’ COVID-19 Protection Framework. Like most other organisations, we have worked hard to understand exactly how the new Red setting will impact the way the Council does business and to ensure we can continue to deliver services to you.

Under the Red setting, most public facilities can open provided there are capacity limits based on 1-metre distancing between people and face coverings are used. Those rules apply whether or not My Vaccine Passes are used. We have delayed the introduction of My Vaccine Passes at most of our facilities until early 2022. We are working out the logistics of implementing this rule and will keep you informed. This is in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and Local Government COVID Working Group and provides customers time to organise My Vaccine Passes. The exception is Te Ahu, which has the library, service centre, i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, and the museum @ Te Ahu. These services share the building with a café and cinema. Under Government guidelines, My Vaccine Passes are mandatory for both cafés and cinemas. Given the open plan layout of Te Ahu, it is not possible to require vaccine passes for the café but not the library or service centre sharing that space. That is why we are currently asking customers and staff to show their My Vaccine Pass. Other councils around the country operating similar open-plan, multi-use facilities are also asking that My Vaccine Passes be shown.

We know that not everyone has access to the internet and that some customers do not have smart phones and that this makes getting your My Vaccine Pass difficult. Our library staff will help you print off your pass if you have proof you are fully vaccinated. Your vaccination card will do. If you cannot visit Council offices for some other reason, please contact us to find out how you can access our services online or via other contactless options.

Like all other organisations, we must ensure that our customers and staff are protected from COVID and to achieve that, we are following Government guidelines. Some of our customers cannot get vaccinated and some of you have made the decision not to. In both cases, we will do all we can to provide the services you need. However, we cannot reduce rates as some have demanded. Rates are levied to provide services for the entire community. We all pay for these services, some of which we may not use. For example, not everyone uses playgrounds, boat ramps or sports fields, but these are a collective good we all benefit from. It would be unworkable and unfair to levy rates only for those services that we choose to use.

While not everyone agrees with the Government’s rules, I ask you to respect our staff. They are doing their best to ensure everyone is treated fairly and can access the services they need. Please be understanding and help them to help you.