I know you’re all interested in what this means for Council services and facilities, so I’ll get right to it. The great news is that most of our services and facilities will be up and running as soon as we’re able.
But there will be some added restrictions, and initially the opening hours may not be what they were before we entered the lockdown. This is to make sure we keep our staff and the community safe, and to meet the health restrictions imposed under Level 2. We cannot afford to do anything that might risk undoing our great work getting this far.
From Thursday all parks and open spaces will reopen. This includes sportsfields (but not changing rooms), outdoor courts, playgrounds, skate parks, the Berhampore Golf Course, plus for completeness all tracks and trails, beaches, boat ramps and marinas.
Libraries will also start reopening. Ngaio, Johnsonville, Karori, Kilbirnie and Newtown branches will open from 10am on Thursday. Arapaki Manners Street Library and Service Centre and the Wadestown Library will open on Monday.
Most Community Centres and Recreation Centres will reopen over the next week, however hours will be limited and not all programmes will be available.
We’ll also be opening the landfill on Thursday – I know many of you have been asking about this. Normal hours will apply, except on weekends, where it will close at 3.30pm to allow the likely queues to clear. No cash will be accepted – it’ll be contactless transactions only.
Only a certain number of vehicles will be allowed in at any one time – so it’s just like how things have been working at the supermarkets, one in and one out. We’re expecting queues, so please be patient and kind to each other and our staff. If possible, come to the landfill on the same day that your recycling collection takes place – this will allow us to better manage queues.
Swimming pools will also reopen over the coming week – starting with Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre and the Freyberg Pool on Thursday. However lane space will be limited and not all programmes will be available. Keith Spry, Karori and Tawa will follow by Monday 18th.
All of this is very exciting. Our city is slowly opening back up and it will be pretty special after such a long wait to be able to visit the library for some new books or do some lengths at the pool. More details for all our services and facilities are available on our website, so make sure to log on or check out our social media channels.
Finally, I wanted to talk about a brilliant new initiative to help safely manage the easing of restrictions. With so many Council services reopening we needed a secure tool for contact tracing which was easy to set up and use, and which protected peoples’ information and privacy.
So we partnered with Wellington software developers, PaperKite, to use a contact tracing app called Rippl. Once you have the Rippl app on your smartphone you just scan a QR code as you enter a Council facility, and check out on your phone when you leave.
Local businesses can also take up the offer for a free three-month licence by registering on the PaperKite website from 9am tomorrow. It’s a really safe, smart solution, and it will really make it easier for people to get back to work and play at Alert Level 2.
Wellington, the war against Covid-19 isn’t over, let’s not for a minute think that it is. But you’ve done each other and your city proud with your actions so far, and I know you will continue to do so as we enter the next stage of the fight.
Thanks everyone, I’ll be back with another update soon.