COVID-19 17 March update

Published on 17 March 2020

Virus graphic

Visiting Council facilities? Here’s what we’re doing to protect you from COVID-19

Upper Hutt City Council wants to reassure customers that we are taking a sensible and vigilant approach to the continuing situation regarding the COVID-19 virus.

We are continuing to align our practices with guidance from the Ministry of Health.

Please do not visit our premises or attend events of any size if you are unwell, have recently arrived in New Zealand from any country except those listed in Category 2 on the Ministry of Health website (excluding airport transit), have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or been asked to self-isolate.

Upper Hutt Civic Centre (Council reception and offices)

The public-facing services of Council remain open for business. We’ve made hand-sanitiser available in public areas along and increased our cleaning of high-use touch devices and surfaces.

We’ve asked staff to observe ‘social distancing’ in their interactions and to maintain high levels of personal hand cleanliness.

Council holds good supplies of sanitiser, cleaning products, and other personal protection equipment which may be needed should the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worsen.

Upper Hutt City Libraries

High-use surfaces are being wiped regularly (at least every hour) throughout the libraries.

We have made hand-sanitiser and wipes available for customers.

All the Chromebooks are being cleaned after each use.

We have removed all toys from the children’s areas.

Off-site library services

Upper Hutt City Libraries, also has a range of services that can be accessed remotely without coming into our premises:

  • Kanopy for your movies
  • RB Digital for your magazines
  • Epukapuka and ePlatform for your books and audiobooks
  • Lynda.com for your learning needs

H2O Xtream aquatic centre

With the combined UV and chlorine treatment of water at our facility, we are confident that the risk from swimming is extremely low. Our primary concern is interactions out of the water and in the changing room facilities.

We’ve posted information signs in both male and female changing rooms.

We are now cleaning our change room facilities three times a day. This includes wiping/sanitizing all surfaces and then a full clean at the end of the day.

We have ordered three hand-sanitiser dispensers from Initial. They will be placed in the male change rooms, the female change rooms, and the change room corridor. We’re expecting these to be installed before the end of March.

There is hand-sanitiser available at reception for customers and staff.

Customer service staff are wiping down all surfaces constantly throughout the day, including phones, EFT-POS machines, and other high-use equipment.

 Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre

All public spaces are cleaned daily. In response to COVID-19, we have increased the frequency of cleaning public surfaces such as door handles, hand rails. Cleaning products are in line with recommendations. The reception desk and café desk is sanitized multiple times per day.

One of our current exhibitions, Cloud Pink, encourages the use of hands, so we provided disposable gloves for people to use and are disinfecting ‘the cloud’ daily. Education classes are washing their hands before and after visiting the exhibitions.

We are working through the implications of any potential closure—specifically around the i-SITE services and continuing emergency travel advice for visitors.

Café toys have been removed.

Hand-sanitiser is readily available for staff. We're looking into adding more hand-sanitizing options for the public.

All employees are encouraged to wash their hands regularly throughout the workday.

Events

In line with Ministry of Health Guidelines and the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, Council has decided to cancel all events with expected attendance of over 500 people. Most notable is the cancellation of the March Madness Fair which was due to be held in Main Street on Saturday 21 March.

The Activation Team’s Picnic and Play event is still currently going ahead and attendance is not expected to reach 500.

At this stage, Upper Hutt City Libraries has not cancelled any self-run events. None of our events at the libraries are likely to approach the current attendance limit of 500. Some groups have chosen to cancel or suspend their events at the libraries and we are using a joint approach to communicate this as widely as possible.

H2O Xtream aquatic centre has a fire safety limit of 450 so attendance levels at the pool cannot reach the current attendance limit of 500. The Aquabeatz event is currently still going ahead.

At this stage, ticketed events in our theatre at Expressions Whirinaki and events for less than 500 people will continue, although we have received some cancellations and postponements. Please check our websites or the specific (third party) event websites for cancellations and postponement dates. If we move to cancel more events—on advice from the Ministry of Health—we will advise the public through our regular communications channels (websites and social media).

We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, and to take advice from the Ministry of Health. We will keep information on our websites up to date as we continue to receive guidance.