Western Bay Council prepares for move to orange

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Swimming pool lanes and library doors will remain open to all residents across the Western Bay under the new traffic light system.

The Government announced the Western Bay of Plenty will move to ‘orange’ at 11.59pm on Thursday, December 2, as part of the country's transition to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System).

Ahead of the transition, Western Bay of Plenty District Council has decided against the compulsory use of My Vaccine Passes as a condition of entry at its facilities for people aged 12 years and older.

This means at ‘orange’ Council facilities and services will remain unchanged from Alert Level 2 under the new framework.

Council CEO John Holyoake says this is a decision that was not made lightly given the organisation’s commitment to keeping staff, contractors, and customers and residents who use Council facilities safe and healthy.

“We appreciate these are challenging and unsettling times for everyone, but as a public service organisation we will not be restricting people depending on their personal vaccine choices.

“Many of our Council facilities are important hubs across the District for a range of services and so we will continue to make calculated decisions to balance continuity of Council services with the safety of the public.”

Under the new framework Council facilities such as libraries, service centres, swimming pools and recycling and greenwaste centres will be open with capacity limits based on 1 metre distancing.

The final Council meetings for 2021 will continue to observe the current protocols in place for those elected members and staff present – contact tracing, social distancing, and mask wearing.

Zoom options are available for members of the public who wish to speak in public forum or attend remotely and meetings will continue to be live-streamed. Community Board meetings have now finished for 2021.

You can watch our previous and upcoming livestreams on our YouTube channel.

At all Council facilities the appropriate health, hygiene and safety measures will remain in place including QR scanning upon entry using the Covid-19 tracer app, wearing a face mask, ensuring physical distancing of 1m and if you have cold and flu symptoms isolate immediately and call Healthline for advice about a test.

“We ask that you continue to follow these guidelines so we can all work together on transitioning into the new Covid-19 framework as best as we can and limit the spread of the virus,” says John.

“We’re continuing to look for innovative ways to provide our District with access to our services in a safe way. Where we can, we will adapt the way we do things, like offering click and collect services at the library and continue to offer virtual Council meetings.”

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