COVID19: Council takes urgent action

Auckland Council will today hold an emergency meeting to confirm arrangements to enable essential work to be undertaken during the COVID-19 crisis lockdown.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “I’ll be putting to councillors at tomorrow’s (today’s) emergency Governing Body meeting, a proposal which will allow key governance decisions to be taken by the council during the lockdown period.

“This will likely mean a compressing of all committees into a single Governing Body entity, meeting weekly by teleconferencing or Skype.

“The agenda will be confined to urgent matters requiring Governing Body attention. Depending on technology and ability of staff to meet demands on them, after an initial period, other meetings may also be able to be conducted by teleconference.

“The focus of the council over coming weeks will firstly be on maintaining essential services, including fresh and wastewater, waste collection and disposal and continuation of a core public transport function for essential workers.

“We will also be examining how staff freed up by deferred council activity can use their skills to help public services under pressure, such as health and people’s welfare.

“Auckland Council staff will continue to work from home. Today, 4500 staff logged in to work from home and this will lift to all but essential workers within 48 hours.

“Council welcomes the Government’s decisive action. With the rapid escalation of cases which we have witnessed in other countries, now is the time to break the transmission route for COVID-19 which could not happen under business as usual.

“These are extraordinary and unprecedented times. It is critical that we work together to face the challenges ahead of us. The crisis will have an endpoint and we want to be in a position to embrace the recovery when we have broken the COVID-19 cycle of infection,” Phil Goff said.

The council has also moved today to extend closures of its network of facilities. This follows closures last week of its libraries, pools and leisure centres.

Key closures:

From 5pm today, the following council facilities will close:

  • All service centres
  • All local board offices
  • All community venues, including community centres, arts facilities, community galleries and venues for hire. However, some venues may be required to support the government’s response to COVID-19
  • The Auckland Botanic Gardens
  • The Arataki Visitor Centre
  • Auckland Zoo
  • All 11 early childhood education centres and our five OSCAR (out of school care) programmes
  • All animal shelters will be closed to the public. Staff will continue to respond to priority calls like roaming dogs and dog attacks.

From tomorrow, all bookings for our network of baches, campgrounds, lodges and self-contained camping sites will be cancelled.

Buildings, playgrounds and all other facilities in our parks are closed. However, our parks remain open for Aucklanders to get out for exercise and fresh air, as long as they follow the government’s guidance around safe social distancing and isolation. Most toilets in parks and public places will be closed, and those that remain open will receive additional cleaning.

Customers will still be able to access many Auckland Council services, including building and resource consent services, online at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or by phoning 09-301-0101.

Background:

On Friday 20 March 2020, Auckland Council announced the temporary closure of all 55 Libraries and Pools and Leisure Centres until further notice.

The Maritime Museum, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland War Memorial Museum and MOTAT have also been closed.

All events have also been cancelled.