COVID-19: Mayor urges support for safety measures

Published on 24 March 2020

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Mayor John Carter is urging everyone in the Far North to embrace government calls to isolate themselves and their families over the next four weeks as the nation unites to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Mayor is making the call as the nation prepares for a national, Level 4 lockdown to stop the spread of the virus that has now killed over 14,000 people worldwide.  “The situation is unprecedented. We have faced challenges in the past in New Zealand, but nothing like this. This crisis demands we all play our part and take responsibility for keeping our families safe. I urge everyone to follow the advice from medical experts to self-isolate and maintain a physical distance between themselves and people they don’t live with.”

Mayor Carter says he fully supports the Government’s decision to move the country to a Level 4 alert with increasing evidence on Monday that the virus was no longer contained and was beginning to spread within the community.  “We only need look to China, Italy, Spain, Iran and other countries to see that we need to act quickly. As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained, taking this drastic step will save tens of thousands of lives. That includes our neighbours, our workmates, our whanau. This affects everyone and requires us all to play our part.”

He says the Council will continue to provide vital services such as water, wastewater, stormwater, drought management, animal management, housing for the elderly, cemeteries, public toilets, the Hokianga Ferry and road maintenance (where it involves public safety). Other services will continue, but in a different form.  Public amenities, such as libraries, public swimming pools, i-SITE information centres, and Council service centres will remain closed for the foreseeable future.  “The next four weeks will be new territory for all of us. Council staff are working hard to adapt to the restrictions. We ask for your patience and understanding as we establish service continuity.”

Mayor Carter also asks people to phone their neighbours, especially if they are over 70, have health issues or live alone, and to keep a 2-metre distance if they visit them in person.  “We are all in this together and the best way forward is to be united against COVID-19. Stay safe, be sensible and please be kind to each other.”

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