The move to Alert Level 3 in New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a welcomed stepping stone on the way to beating COVID-19, but it’s far from the end of the journey, says Paul Blewman, Controller of the North Waikato Combined Emergency Operations Centre (NWCEOC).
Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council have joined forces to operate the centre, providing logistical and community support to assist the public health response.
“Waikato, and New Zealand, have done a great job so far, but as some businesses return to work we must remember to continue physical distancing and make sure we follow the hygiene recommendations and safety protocols for staff, customer and the wider community,” Mr Blewman says.
There are seven “golden rules” for businesses at Alert Level 3.
- Your workers must work from home if they can.
- Workplaces must operate safely – maintain physical distance between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards.
- Retail and hospitality businesses can only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick up – customers cannot enter stores.
- Supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations can continue to allow customers into their stores, with the same restrictions and measures in place as Alert Level 4.
- Businesses cannot offer services which involve face-to-face contact or sustained close contact (for example hairdressing, massage, house cleaning, or door-to-door salespeople).
- Other in-home services can be delivered if it is safe to do so (like tradespeople for repairs or installations) – keep two metre separation from those in the house.
- Most workers will not require PPE to stay safe at work. Incorrectly used PPE can create more risk. Good hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing, sneeze and cough etiquette, and wiping down surfaces is the best defence against COVID-19.
For more detail, check out COVID-19 Government website.
The Ministry of Health also advises those people returning to business premises to run taps for at least two minutes and flush toilets, so pipes can refill with fresh water. This removes the stagnant water that has been sitting in the pipes during lockdown and brings in fresh, clean water from the street mains.
Mr Blewman says maintaining the rhythm and momentum is key as the change to Level 3 restrictions begin.
“Stay home unless you’re on essential business. If your workplace is open make sure it’s safe for you, your staff and your customers. Stay local, keep your physical distancing, and keep your bubble small. If you are sick, get tested, and keep washing your hands with soap often to kill the virus.
“Kia kaha Waikato, we’ve got this."
For more information please contact:
Senior Communications & Engagement Advisor
Waikato District Council
027 706 5776