Central Otago is now at red in the traffic light settings that the Government has introduced in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
To keep our people and our communities safe, the Central Otago District Council is requiring vaccine passes at some of its facilities.
Visitors aged 12 years and three months and over will have to show their Government My Vaccine Pass on arrival at the following facilities:
- All CODC-run pools – Alexandra, Cromwell and Ranfurly Pool
- All Central Otago Libraries
- Council-run i-SITEs (Ranfurly and Roxburgh)
- As the Roxburgh i-SITE and Library operate as a shared service with the Roxburgh Service Centre this facility will also require a vaccine pass for entry.
At all other Council offices and facilities Council will be working within the traffic lights settings (the Covid Protection Framework) – requiring you to mask up, keep your distance, scan or sign-in, and observe capacity limits.
More about life at red can be found here: Life at Red | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)
Below are some of the answers to the frequently asked questions regarding My Vaccine Passes at CODC facilities.
Can I expect a discount on my rates now that I can’t access public facilities / have reduced access to council services?
All property owners pay rates so we can provide a wide range of services and facilities, regardless of how much or little ratepayers use them.
Our rating system is based on “potential to use” a facility. Whether our residents and ratepayers use a service or not is personal choice, just as it is a personal choice to be unvaccinated.
To give reductions to the non-vaccinated would break that fundamental premise and make the whole rating system almost impossible to administer.
Also, the cost of operating our facilities will remain unchanged. Therefore, if reductions were applied to those that weren’t vaccinated, the vaccinated would have to pay more.
Even with the introduction of vaccine passes, services such as water supply, wastewater disposal, recycling and rubbish collections, roads and footpaths and green spaces are still available to everyone.
We have some services that can already be accessed in a non-contact way, such as online payments, digital consents, streaming of our meetings, and we’re working on providing contactless options for more services – eg ‘click and collect’ at our libraries. We’ll have more information about this soon.
According to the Ministry of Health, which is the official source of truth we are relying on for our health advice, vaccination reduces the chance of passing the virus on to other people. When a vaccinated person is infected with COVID-19 they have no symptoms or fewer, milder symptoms and recover faster. When used alongside the existing controls, vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission in our workplaces and public facilities.
Why is CODC implementing vaccine passes when other councils aren’t and the government hasn’t mandated it?
The Covid Protection Framework and Traffic Light System sets a minimum standard for how Council operates under an orange setting in Central Otago. We are also required, under both the Health Order and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, to undertake a risk assessment specific to our organisation and facilities.
Decisions made at CODC may differ to those made at another territorial authority – some maybe more stringent and some less so.
We have considered each facility, the amount of unknown people intermingling in close proximity, our ability to manage that, the safety of staff, the likely increased domestic travel from 15 December and the upcoming school holidays.
We have gone through a range of different scenarios about how we could continue to provide services to unvaccinated members of our community. The challenge we come up against is that we are already tightly staffed. Resourcing alternative approaches would be difficult just from a capacity perspective (increased staffing and cleaning requirements, etc), but then you also must factor in our obligation to protect the health and safety of our staff as well as members of the public when they enter our facilities or use our services.
We will be regularly reviewing our measures and actively testing different ways in which we could provide services whilst meeting the threshold of our risk assessment and within current staffing capacity.
The decision to limit vaccine pass requirements to pools, i-Sites and libraries was made on an assessment of our current risk profile. We believe we can safely operate other functions within the orange system and without the need for a vaccine pass. If our risk profile changes, so too might the requirements whether that be to increase or decrease the need for a vaccine pass.
Will all Council workers at vaccination pass facilities be double vaccinated to keep the public safe too?
The use of a vaccine pass at Council pools, libraries and Council-run i-SITES will require all people over 12 years old, including staff, to be vaccinated to enter the facility.