Update - Thursday 23 April 2020

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Influenza vaccinations

The Ministry of Health have advised that as of yesterday, 22 April 2020, all essential workers outside of healthcare and emergency response are now eligible for influenza vaccinations. This includes local government essential workers.

These vaccinations are not funded by central government.

Vaccinations can be organised through your normal workplace vaccination programmes, or through local vaccination providers, e.g. health-care centres or clinics.

Influenza vaccinations will be extended to the general public for anyone aged 3 or older on Monday 27 April 2020. 

Updated guidance on council services and CDEM groups at Alert Level 3

On Friday 17 April, the Response Unit provided guidance on council services and operations at Alert Level 3. This guidance has been updated (PDF, 1MB) to include guidance developed by NEMA on CDEM arrangements at Alert Level 3.

We will also post this guidance on the COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit webpage.

This guidance has been based on the decisions the Government has made for Alert Level 3. We hope it will help councils manage the transition to Alert Level 3 and support consistency in the delivery of local government services across New Zealand.

If you have any enquiries around council services/operations at Level 3 please send these enquiries to the Response Unit through to this COVID-19 inbox or your regular SOLGM/LGNZ/DIA contacts.

E-scooter and bike rentals under Alert Levels 2 and 3

The Ministry of Transport has issued new guidance for transport activities under Alert Levels 2-4.

This guidance states that shared micromobility schemes (e-scooter and bike rental by the minute/hour) are not permitted at Alert Levels 2 and 3. 

Read more about the guidance.

ANZAC Day services

We remain in Alert Level 4 until 11.59pm on Monday 27 April.

This requires strict social distancing and no public gatherings.

Only essential workers should be travelling beyond their immediate areas.

Anzac Day dawn services are cancelled. This implies there should be no associated activities, such as wreath-laying and people should be discouraged from gathering at Cenotaphs and memorial sites.

The Prime Minister has encouraged New Zealanders to participate, should they wish to, in the RSA and New Zealand Defence Force’s Stand At Dawn event.

This invites people to: “Join us at 6:00am on Saturday 25 April. Stand at your letterbox, at the front door, in your lounge rooms balconies, in your driveway … but please stay within your bubble’’.

Read more information on the COVID-19 website.  

Observing Ramadhan under Alert Level 3 and 4

Under Alert Levels 3 and 4, Mosques are unable to open for prayers, congregations and observe Ramadhan activities like Iftar and Tarawih. Some Mosques are working on virtual sermons and distributing iftar packs to keep connected and observe Ramadhan together from their bubbles.

Read some FAQs prepared to support you in this discussion with your communities (PDF, 174KB). 

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks is essential for some workers to do their jobs safely.

For others, it may make them feel safe but isn’t necessary to manage the risk they face. Rigorous use of physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces are the most effective measures in these situations.

If you used PPE in your business before COVID-19, then keep using it in the same way. If you didn’t, then it is not needed now. Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff.

Visit the Ministry of Health website for more advice.

COVID-19 cases by Local Government areas

Earlier this week we started a restricted circulation of daily reporting on the incidence of COVID-19 cases across local government boundaries.

Some discrepancies in the figures have become apparent which could lead to confusion. Until this has been resolved, we are suspending the reporting.

In addition, we are working to get accurate reporting on the active cases by local government area. As the number of recovered COVID-19 cases increases, this reporting will be more helpful for informing risk management activities. 

Evolving role of the Response Unit

The Response Unit is considering how its role and functions should evolve to best support local government as New Zealand begins to consider a recovery from COVID-19.

This will likely mean there will be changes to the communications and work programme of the Response Unit. However, we will also ensure we maintain the ability to respond quickly, should further outbreaks of COVID-19 occur as we move down through Alert Levels.

We will look to maintain our close partnership across DIA, SOLGM, LGNZ and NEMA.

We will communicate further information on these changes in the near future.

Resources on life under Alert Level 3

Information on life under Alert levels 3, 2 and 1 is now available on COVID19.govt.nz.

A wide range of new content has been added to the business.govt.nz website regarding workplace restrictions at different alert levels.

Worksafe has provided "Transitioning from Alert Level 4" advice including the necessary health and safety requirements for businesses.

Read more information on the Work Safe website.

The Government has released the Golden Rules for businesses.

Read more information on the Covid19 website for more information.  

The Ministry of Health also has specific infectious disease control advice for workplaces here.

The guidance and FAQs for councils services  reference establishing ‘work groups’ for those staff that must work in pairs/groups. These groups are intended to ensure staff are exposed to a consistent set of their colleagues. The groups must be able to operate safely and are not exempt from the above requirements.

COVID-19 Alert Level 2

The immediate focus for the sector must be on anticipating, preparing for and managing a return to Alert Level 3 at 11.59 next Monday 27 April.

However, we are aware that a subsequent move to Level 2, whenever that comes, is likely to have greater implications for the sector than the move between Alert Levels 4 and 3.

The Response Unit, and in particular its essential services workstream, will be working with sector representatives and central government agencies this week and next to map out the detail of the changes this move will entail.

We anticipate being able to share guidance on councils services and operations at Level 2 in time for the sector to make appropriate adjustments for this change when it occurs.