Waikato district community facilities to close

22 March 2020

Waikato District Council community facilities will be closed effective Monday 23 March as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Government has put limits on the number of people who can gather in a space and is urging the practice of ‘physical distancing’– maintaining a space of two metres between people.

Waikato District Council Chief Executive Gavin Ion says the most effective way the business can support these restrictions is to discourage people from gathering in numbers in our community.

“Our facilities are well used by the community. We can ask people to keep their distance from each other and put limits on customer numbers, but we can’t guarantee these directions will be followed.

“It’s important we do whatever we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. To do this, we’ve had to make tough calls like temporarily closing a number of our facilities.”

From Monday 23 March, all Waikato district libraries will be closed until further notice. The only Council sites that will remain open will be the Tuakau office and the Ngaruawahia office. We ask that the community only visit these sites if necessary. Our pools in Tuakau, Huntly and Ngaruawahia will also be closed, along with our camp grounds in Huntly and Raglan. Permanent residents at each of the camp grounds will remain but will be advised to restrict their use of shared facilities at the sites. All community halls are also closed.

Waikato district parks and other open spaces will remain open, including cemeteries if physical distancing is maintained.

Council will be reviewing these closures on a day-by-day basis.

Mr Ion says many of Council’s community facilities include communal spaces with people in close contact. Council is not in a position to identify customers and help authorities track close contacts if someone who uses a facility is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Waikato district Mayor Allan Sanson says the decision to close the district’s community facilities was difficult but essential.

“Our community and our country’s health must come first. Our facilities are a very important part of what makes the district such wonderful place to live. It’s time for the community and the country to band together to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Mr Ion says the situation is unprecedented and evolving and Council will update the community as more information becomes available from the Government and the Ministry of Health.

ENDS

For more information please contact:
Teresa Hancock
Senior Communications & Engagement Advisor
Waikato District Council
027 706 5776
communications@waidc.govt.nz