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Waikato District Council staff prepare as Omicron impact ramps up

Waikato District Council is asking its communities to be patient and understanding as staff and contractors are preparing for the expected impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

With both infection and isolation numbers on the rise across the country, the flow-on effects are forcing cities worldwide to change, reduce and temporarily suspend certain services.

Near the beginning of the outbreak, Council revised its existing business continuity plan (BCP) with a particular focus on mitigating the potential effects of COVID-19 on staff, services and communities.

Chief Executive Gavin Ion says that whilst business continuity plans are a good way to mitigate risks, there are no guarantees that all services can continue to run at full capacity throughout the outbreak.

“The outbreak is proving particularly hard to predict. Last year we saw the effects of lockdowns, isolation requirements and border controls on our wider services, with many of our offices and libraries operating on reduced hours over this time. What we know of the current outbreak is that we can expect similar disruptions to what we may have seen then.

“The priority is to ensure that our core services can continue to run. This includes services like rubbish and recycling collections, water supply and treating wastewater – the non-negotiable things that impact the day-to-day lives of our communities. 

“Our business continuity plan provides one layer of defence with our staff already operating in separated bubbles to manage the risk of exposure, illness and isolation. However, this could still cause a disruption to services where staff availability was already minimal, including at our offices and libraries where we were already recruiting for vacancies.

“In the current climate, further disruption to some services may be impossible to avoid, but we are planning for every likely scenario. In the meantime, we would like to thank our communities for their patience and understanding as we confront these strange times together.”

For updates on any adjustments to Waikato District Council services, please keep an eye on their website, Facebook page or Twitter