WBOPDC: Preparations for Level Three well planned
Western Bay of Plenty Civil Defence will move to Level Three from 11.59pm on April 27 and is assessing local community needs and preparing resources to enable a smooth transition and the continuation of essential services.
The local community has responded well to Level 4 and Western Zone Controller Eric Newman says that during the next Level 3 phase everyone must continue to maintain similar restrictions on local travel, remain in their close family bubbles and ensure physical distancing when away from home on essential business.
Moving to Level 3 will enable people to support their local businesses more – which is really important at this transitional phase, says Eric.
Business owners unable to work from home can use this week to prepare for a return to business in Level 3, if it is safe to do so.
However, for most, not a great deal has changed under Level 3, says Eric.
“We must continue to stay close to home and not lose the gains we have made at Level 4. Please stay home and remain in the Western Bay – do not travel anywhere apart from for essential local travel purposes, continue to visit the same supermarket, work from home if you can. We need to keep the right momentum and support each other.”
Requests from ATV owners to apply for new or renewal of existing permits to use their vehicles on the beaches for the purposes of fishing will be declined under Level 3.
Eric says fishing is only allowed at the shortest route from a person’s home and does not include the use of ATVs for travelling distances to other fishing spots.
He says some pet owners are abandoning their animals due to difficulty in affording the upkeep of their pets – especially dogs.
“Anyone facing that difficult decision must call the welfare hotline on 0800 884 222 for help. Please don’t abandon your pets – our welfare team can supply pet food for anyone in such hardship."
SPCA spokesperson Anna Porteous says people can also phone their nearest SPCA for help with pet food, essential vet visits and support in hardship.
“We are only too happy to drop pet food off or arrange for essential help.”
What Level 3 looks like in the Western Bay of Plenty Region:
• All park facilities remain closed or out of bounds. This includes playgrounds, toilets, drinking fountains, equipment, park benches or picnic tables
• Community facilities such as libraries, pools, art galleries and playgrounds remain closed and most council staff will be working from home
• Council call centres are fully operational so your enquiries can still be actioned
• Council meetings, public consultation and hearings will be done virtually.
• Many council services will not recommence to normal levels at Level 3
• Councils will prioritise delivery of essential services such as water and waste. Many council services are still being delivered by staff working remotely
• People must stay at home other than for essential personal movement
• Accessing local services and businesses
• Going to work or school (only for those who have to)
• Low-risk recreation in local area
• Shared and extended bubble arrangements
• Emergencies and giving effect to court orders
• Travelling to permitted gatherings
• Relocating a home or business
• Medical reasons
• Those who have an exemption to travel because of compassionate reasons
• Foreign nationals leaving New Zealand
• New Zealanders resident returning home
• Travelling workers (kiwifruit/seasonal workers) must be from the same accommodation bubble or multiple vehicles will need to be used. Where vehicles are allowed to transport passengers, the driver must carry a letter of approval to travel issued by appropriate Government agency.
Changes under Level 3 in Western Bay Region
• You can support local business with more non-contact online shopping
• Some more essential-only travel options
• More local area exercise options
• Small bubble extension to family members living locally
• Small gatherings at cemeteries will be permitted to farewell loved ones in line with the restrictions on funerals and tangihanga
• Free Wi-Fi will be turned back on from 27 April and be available outside local public Libraries in the Western Bay of Plenty District Council service centres
• Activities must remain local and within the shortest possible distance away from home
• Boating, yachting and team sports or training are not allowed
- Use of reserves is fine for exercise but don’t touch facilities
- Mowing will resume to bring grass levels back into specification and create a sense of normality
- Toilets remain closed as for Level 4
- Councils and their service providers will resume some activities but they must have a specific COVID-19 health and safety plan in place as they head back into business
For more specific details on how COVID-19 Alert Level 3 looks visit you local council’s website.