In just a few hours, the country will be in lockdown, as we move to Covid-19 alert level 4.
For many of you, as it is for my family and I, that is a daunting prospect.
But it is also a crucial step in keeping our country and our people safe, and in overcoming the threat of Covid-19.
Earlier today a national state of emergency was declared, with Wellington’s Emergency Operations Centre in Thorndon now up and running – further obvious indications of how serious the situation is.
Wellington City Council has made the decision to halt kerbside recycling collections, from midnight tonight until further notice.
Given we understand the Covid-19 virus can remain active for up to three days on some surfaces like plastic, metal and glass, the workers who process it simply face too great a risk.
This will be very disappointing for most of us who are avid recyclers, but while alert level 4 continues, we cannot keep the operation going.
Today we also made the decision to close the city’s 115 playgrounds. This is in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines and has been done to keep our communities and staff safe.
The Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park and Berhampore Golf Course are also closed for the same reason.
In more positive news, Wellington City Libraries is now allowing non-members to temporarily sign-up to access thousands of online resources from the comfort of their own home.
This will apply to anyone currently in Wellington. Go online to find out how.
From 11.59 tonight, we will enter a new period of our history, one that will keep us apart physically, but can also bring us together as a nation.
That will depend on each of us playing our part, and closely following all official advice.
So please stay connected via phone or social media – don’t put yourself and others at risk by going out unnecessarily.
As the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said today: “Stay at home, break the chain of infection, and save lives”.
I will be back tomorrow with another update.
Kia kaha Wellington.