Update - 2 September 2020

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Frequency of Response Unit updates

The Response Unit continues to meet regularly and is on hand to support you as required as we move forward.

We are reducing the frequency of our regular updates to one update weekly, on Wednesdays.

The cabinet is scheduled to meet on Friday, 4 September. Should an announcement be made following this about any change or extension to the Alert Levels, we will send out an extra update with relevant messaging and guidance to support you.

Here’s today’s update

The country will remain at Alert Level 2 until 11.59 pm on Sunday 6 September.

At Alert Level 2 outside Auckland, gatherings such as church services and social events will continue to be limited to 100 people.

The Auckland region (Auckland Council area) is at Alert Level 2 with extra restrictions:

There have been some references to Auckland being at “Level 2.5” – this is to highlight that there are extra restrictions at Alert Level 2 in Auckland. It is not a new formal Alert Level.

At Alert Level 2 in Auckland, gatherings will continue to be limited to 10 people and funerals and tangihanga will be limited to 50 people and have to meet other conditions set by the Ministry of Health.

As well as wearing face coverings on public transport where they are mandatory, the government is encouraging Aucklanders to wear face coverings in public places where physical distancing is not possible.

The Government is encouraging Aucklanders to behave as if they carry their Alert Level with them. This means asking Aucklanders who travel outside their region to consider:

restricting themselves to groups of no more than 10 when they are outside of Auckland, even though gatherings of up to 100 are permitted;

being considerate and ensuring they practice physical distancing, wash hands and cough and sneeze into their elbow;

keeping track of their movements, using the NZ COVID Tracer app if possible; and

if they develop any cold or flu symptoms, staying where they are and seeking advice about getting tested.

The Response Unit remains on hand to support you. You can send enquiries to your usual SOLGM, LGNZ, DIA contacts or this inbox: LGCGcovid19response@dia.govt.nz

New requirements for public transport

Most forms of public transport will be required to display a NZ COVID Tracer QR code from Friday, 4 September 2020.

Masks are mandatory for travel on public transport and flights at Alert Level 2 and above from Monday 31 August.

There has been a generally positive response to this, with the Ministry of Transport reporting high levels of compliance with passengers wearing face masks on public transport over the last few days. There has been no report of any issues with people refusing to wear masks or other disorder. Thank you for your role in supporting this requirement within your communities.

On Saturday, 29 August, Waka Kotahi sent out updated collateral and operator guidance for Alert Level 2. This included the posters on safe travel attached to this update.

Should you wish to subscribe to the mailing list, please contact NERT@nzta.govt.nz

Further information on using public transport is also available on the COVID-19 website.

Update from the Recovery Reference Group

The Recovery Reference Group met on Friday, 28 August. This meeting included the presentation from Deloitte on the COVID-19 impact analysis tool.

As discussed in our update email from Friday, 28 August, DIA has been working with Deloitte to develop a tool to support councils in understanding/assessing the COVID-19 economic impact and provide various scenario assessments. This tool is being developed at pace to be available for councils in time to be useful for your long-term planning work.

This tool is being developed using national publicly available council data and provides regional (and local level where the data enables) outputs. There are also mechanisms for councils to plug more detailed data into the high-level scenario tools for deeper analysis.

At this meeting, Deloitte presented their ‘work in progress’ dashboards to the Recovery Reference Group and heard some final feedback on additional elements that would be most valuable.

This feedback included:

ensuring there was the ability to add in more granular local information to enable different detailed analysis;

adding the ability to include Government funding that has been applied for/granted to councils, such as FAR rates, Shovel Ready, Three Waters and Jobs for Nature;

clarifying that this tool does not replicate the SOLGM wellbeing indicators tool; and

understanding how CCOs funding impacts can be identified within the data and outputs.

Deloitte is working to make further improvements based on the Recovery Reference Group input to have the tool available for councils shortly.

DIA and Deloitte will look to hold workshops with Council staff to run through the uses of the tool. We will be in touch shortly to set these workshops up and are also available to present to council zone, regional or sectoral groupings as requested.

The Recovery Reference Group have been very clear that this tool needs to be made available to all councils as soon as possible for it to be of use for LTP drafting. We hope to be able to make it available immediately after the workshop sessions.

LTP guidance available

SOLGM has issued a practice note on navigating the post-lockdown LTP which is available on their website: www.solgm.co.nz

Elimination strategy and Resurgence planning

The Government remains committed to an elimination strategy for Covid-19 as outlined in the “Stamp it Out” framework. This means a sustained approach of keeping it out, finding it, and stamping it out.

The core of the response will be personal hygiene, staying home when sick, testing, contact tracing, and isolation. Where this is insufficient, the Government will seek to control Covid-19 with the least intrusive measures, including tailored local responses.

This potential for future local escalations in Alert Levels means that it is important all parts of New Zealand are well prepared to respond to a resurgence of COVID-19. Planning and preparation will be key to enabling social and economic recovery to continue and adapt during any future resurgence.

We are aware of concern that the resurgence planning requirements may place added pressure on councils. We are working to better understand how we can support you through this process.

NZ COVID Tracer booklet

Today the Government announced that hard copy contact tracing booklets will be available for people that cannot, or choose not to, download and use the NZ COVID Tracer App.

Organisations with wide reach to New Zealanders that may want or need the booklet are encouraged to order the booklets and use their channels to distribute to this community.

The booklet is currently available in English, but a range of languages will be available in future.

You can order the booklets from the Health Promotion Agency website.

New Zealanders that can, should download the NZ COVID Tracer app, as this is the fastest way for us to stop the spread of the virus and keep our whānau and communities safe.

COVID-19 Response Preparedness

It is important we remain prepared and aware of our responsibilities and service levels across the Alert Level Framework should your region need to change Alert Levels.

We encourage councils to continue to promote best practice within your communities for good hand hygiene, and cough etiquette. You may find posters to support these messages.

You will find detail of all the COVID-19 Alert Levels on the COVID-19 website.

We will also update our guidance on council services and operations across the COVID-19 Alert Levels on the COVID-19 Response Unit webpage.

Other useful Resources

Google drive hosting key creative assets for agencies to use and share across their channels as appropriate

Ministry of Transport’s guidance for Transport and Travel by Alert Level

MfE’s guidance for councils operating virtual hearings under the RMA

MfE’s face mask disposal messages

MfE’s Wet wipes messages

You may sign up to the daily All of Government email newsletter

You may find posters to support key messages

Foreign nationals in need of assistance can check their eligibility and apply online

Connected.govt.nz has been launched by MDS to assist workers, employers and job seekers navigate all of the available COVID recovery programmes and assistance. The website is supported by a free phone line, 0800 264 737 and MSD have 35 physical Connected locations around the country.

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