Council adopts proactive stance on COVID-19
Published on 20 March 2020
The Far North District Council will soon begin a gradual closure of public amenities to protect Far North residents where COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) could spread. These amenities include i-SITE visitor information centres, libraries, and customer service centres. Swimming pools, playgrounds and community halls may also be closed.
Chief Executive Shaun Clarke says senior managers are developing plans that will identify when services will be reduced or removed, but i-SITES and libraries could close before the end of next week. “The pandemic is evolving quickly in New Zealand. Taking proactive steps now could save lives and help the district get through the crisis.”
Far North Libraries had already scheduled reduced services and closures starting tomorrow as they upgrade to the kōtui shared management and search service. The six libraries were due to fully reopen on 26 March, but this may now be put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Wherever possible, alternatives will be offered. For example, we will encourage library customers to access and download electronic books and other materials online.”
The Council also plans to close customer service centres at a yet-to-be-determined date. “We urge customers to phone us, instead of visiting our service centres in person, or lodge requests for service online via our website.”
Mr Clarke says the measures may seem drastic, but they are in line with proactive measures other councils and service providers are adopting. “We face an unprecedented public health crisis and our priority is to protect our communities. At the same time, we will do all we can to ensure the vital services the Council provides will continue uninterrupted.”
Mr Clarke says the Council will release more details about its response to COVID-19 and changes to Council services as soon as it has confirmed these.