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Update: Central Hawke’s Bay District Council’s response to COVID-19

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Following the government’s COVID-19 announcement on Saturday, we’ve been working hard to define how these new measures impact us in Central Hawke’s Bay as we do everything we can to slow down the virus.

We want you to have confidence in what we’re doing. We’re treating this virus with the seriousness it deserves and as a community, and we implore you to do the same. Now more than ever, our community needs to come together so we as a Council can put energy into what’s most important – the security of our services, and the protection of our most vulnerable people.

WHAT WE KNOW:

  • On Saturday, a new four-level COVID-19 alert system was announced, specifying public health and social measures to be taken against the virus.
  • Currently, the alert is level two: Reduce. This means that COVID-19 is contained, but risk of community transmission is growing because we have more cases. This is when we are focused on slowing down the spread by reducing our contact with one another. You can read more about this and the four levels on the official COVID-19 website.
  • The response is going to be enduring and we need to think wisely about how we allocate our resources.  
  • The one best source of accurate and timely information on COVID-19 is www.covid19.govt.nz.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:

  • We know that COVID-19 is going to dramatically impact our day-to-day lives for some time – but what we don’t know is just how long this impact will continue, or what exactly the impact will be.
  • We don’t have certainty of what the future will bring, so we need to come together now to manage the spread, ensure the security of our infrastructure, and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.

WHAT WE NEED YOU TO KNOW:

  • We’re closely following the guidance of the New Zealand Government Ministry of Health, Hawke's Bay District Health Board and Hawke’s Bay Emergency Management Group and are building a local plan in support of the national and regional response. Our emergency response team was activated last week, and this group is now wholly focused on actioning this plan.
  • We’re taking steps to protect our staff and your services. The government has recommended that where possible, people start to work remotely. We’re following this guide by introducing staff rostering which means that you might not see the same faces as usual to when you visit us, as your normal officer could be working from home. We’re all still available to speak to you though, on the phone or by email!
  • We’ve made the decision to close the Waipawa District Library from Monday 23 March for the foreseeable future. This decision has not been made lightly, but this also allows us to deploy staff and equipment, to better resource and support critical areas in the Council.
  • At this stage, the Waipukurau Library and other facilities remain open, however we are prepared to quickly respond and enact any required change as advised by the Ministry.
  • Remember – if you are sick, in self-isolation or have returned from overseas travel in the last 14 days please stay home to protect staff and the community.
  • You can access our services by phone on 06 857 8060 for a 24 hour telephone service, or take advantage of our online payment services and application forms and 'Do It Online' at www.chbdc.govt.nz.

We’ll keep coming back to you with regular local updates. Keep your eye on our central webpage - https://www.chbdc.govt.nz/our-council/covid-19/ for information directly communicated by Central Hawke’s Bay District Council. Remember though – the best website to bookmark for information relating to COVID-19 is www.covid19.govt.nz.

Please be assured that our business continuity plan is robust, agile, and committed to ensuring your access to essential services.

22 March 2020

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