MEDIA RELEASE: SWDC's response to COVID-19, following Government advice

20 March 2020

South Wairarapa District Council is taking all sensible precautions following Ministry of Health guidelines about the COVID-19 pandemic.

SWDC Chief Executive Harry Wilson says the Council is working closely with the Ministry of Health, Wairarapa DHB, and the National Emergency Management Centre, to ensure it is working from the latest information and advice.

“We are continually reviewing advice and the situation in the Wairarapa. All our efforts are focused on keeping our staff healthy and safe, ensuring council services can continue to operate for the community and supporting Government efforts to respond to issues for our community and the wider region.

"Yesterday’s Government announcement that all events of more than 100 people indoors should be cancelled resulted in Council reviewing all upcoming venue bookings and libraries. Given that South Wairarapa libraries do not fall under the 100-plus definition, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in our the region, and no evidence of sustained community transmission in the country, our libraries remain open, for now.

“Local councils are working together to develop a national framework to respond to impacts of Government announcements on COVID-19, of which there are more expected over the weekend.”

Mayor Alex Beijen assures the people of South Wairarapa that Council and Councillors were aware of and preparing for any issues that may arise.

“We have many scenarios that may come to the fore over the next few days and weeks. We can’t react to many of them until they happen, but can be ready. There are things you can do to keep yourself and your whānau safe, and there are things we are doing as a district.

“While the immediate focus is on the health of our communities, the secondary focus is on economic and social recovery actions,” says Mr Beijen.

In order to avoid confusing information or mixed messages, please follow advice on the cross-government website at www.covid19.govt.nz, which includes information for businesses, employers and community groups, or on the Ministry of Health’s website for health-related information. Do not rely on non-official sources for information.

What you can do

  • Wash hands regularly with soap, for at least 20 seconds
  • Sneeze or cough into tissues or your elbow
  • Clean surfaces regularly
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Follow the advice of Ministry of Health
  • Look out for those more vulnerable members of our community
  • Prepare but don’t panic. Visit health.govt.nz for updates.

If you have symptoms and have recently returned from overseas, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and follow their advice

What we’re doing

Here are some of the specific things we’re doing in the South Wairarapa to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Libraries, Pools, Information Centres and Council Spaces

  • Any staff with flu-like symptoms will be instructed to stay home and seek medical advice. We encourage customers to do the same.
  • Increased cleaning of high touch points and common areas.
  • Hand sanitizer at reception for customers and staff to use
  • Non-essential meetings or events scheduled have been cancelled to help avoid spread.

Cleaning of Council property

  • Public toilets and other council properties are cleaned regularly using products suitable to remove pathogens.
  • Cleaning contractors advise that there are currently no supply issues with cleaning products, toilet paper or hand towels.

Council staff

  • Any staff who are unwell will stay home
  • Staff are being reminded to follow all safe hygiene guidelines, such as handwashing
  • Staff are practising social distancing (one metre apart)
  • Remote working capabilities are being fast-tracked

South Wairarapa District Council