Below are some of the key media advisories that have been issued, starting with the latest at the top. For more information related to our local response to the COVID-19 pandemic see our COVID-19 section.
6 April 2020, 11.15am:
Easter Message from Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan
Central Otago at Easter is a place that absolutely buzzes, with our friends from afar travelling to their holiday homes right across the district. Apart from this year that is.
Under the Level 4 lockdown rules: "Everyone in New Zealand is to be isolated or quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for essential personal movement". As much as we love having our cribbies come to Central over Easter, a visit to the crib cannot be seen as essential, so doing so this Easter will be in breach of the law.
I am aware some cribbies use Easter as the time to ready the crib for winter, and especially to turn the water off to avoid frozen pipes. Lockdown provisions may be relaxed before frosts that could freeze pipes come, but if people are concerned they could have a neighbour or plumber turn their water off for them.
I have had several local people contact me concerned about people from outside the area travelling or intending to travel to Central to visit their holiday homes, and I am aware of one case where the 105 Police hotline has been used to report such an incident. It would be a shame to see locals having to report breaches over Easter, but I am sure that would be a consequence if people choose to break the rules.
Central Otago looks forward to welcoming our cribbie friends back once the Covid19 provisions allow for that to occur.
1 April 2020, 12.30pm - Update on PUBLIC TOILETS
Central Otago District Council has temporarily closed a number of public toilets around the district until further notice. This is in line with the directive from Central Government to close as many public facilities as possible; to protect our community and visitors, and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Due to the nationwide lock down, it is anticipated that the demand for public toilets will be much lower than normal.
A small number of public toilets will remain OPEN, and are mainly for use by those working in essential services. They include:
- Golden Block
- Tarbert Street - Thompson Way
- Pioneer Park iSite
- Lode Lane
- Cromwell Heritage Precinct
- Toilet beside the Millers Flat Hall
- King George Park playground
- Main Road toilets
- Derwent Street
- Patearoa public toilet at the Patearoa Hall
29 March 2020, 1.50pm:
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan's message regarding the first Covid-19 death in New Zealand
The announcement today from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of our nation's first Covid-19 death is very sad, but also unsurprising.
Today the Prime Minister also commented on the need for understanding and kindness to be shown now more than ever toward those who are currently fighting the illness. We are all aware that there are some in our district in that position.
I truly hope that there will not be another rush of comments on social media following this news like some that I am aware of saying people who attended the Hereford Conference or went to the Wanaka A+P Show were acting irresponsibly to do so and have now put us all at risk.
I have noted keyboard warriors have a remarkable consistency in their 20/20 hindsight.
People going about their daily lives back then – as we were all entitled to do two weeks ago – who are now ill are no more responsible for what has happened than you or me.
I know we are all anxious and news such as today's just ramps that feeling up. But please think about this. The people who are sick with this illness in our community right now I imagine are feeling physically somewhere between okay and absolutely horrible. But mentally they must be a whole lot more anxious than those of us who are not infected, especially today.
These people are someone's mum, husband, father, child.
They are you and me except the dice fell differently for them.
They are our people, and they need our aroha and support now. They have mine and I hope they have this from all of us in Central Otago.
Stay calm in your head and kind in your heart and we will get through this.
26 March 2020, 4pm
CODC Emergency Operations Centre operational
The Central Otago District Council Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated on Tuesday 24 March as part of the Civil Defence response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A national State of Emergency was declared on Wednesday 25 March ahead of the nationwide lock down. The purpose of the EOC is to assist health services to meet the needs of visitors and the wider community in response to COVID-19 in Central Otago.
As much as possible CODC will be operating its EOC remotely, in keeping with national self-isolation measures.
"We activated the EOC on Tuesday in anticipation of an escalation in the number of cases of COVID-19 and the need for Central Otago to respond," said CODC CEO Sanchia Jacobs. "Our role is to relieve the burden of demand on the health system by providing welfare assistance wherever possible so they can focus on the critical role of keeping people safe."
"Right now, the single most important thing people can do is strictly observe the measures the government has put in place, don't look for loop holes or ways to bend the rules."
A COVID-19 section has been set up on the Council's website for information related to the local response and can be found at https://www.codc.govt.nz/your-council/covid-19/Pages/default.aspx. This will support the key national source of information https://covid19.govt.nz/, set up by the Government to be a location to find everything we need to know to get through this as a nation in one place.
Changes to Council Services
Our offices and all Council's facilities are closed to the public, but Council is still operating and focused on delivering essential services during this time.
Our customer services 'virtual reception' will remain open during business hours and you can reach our team by calling 03 440 0056 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Our i-SITE team also remain contactable via email@example.com or 03 262 7999.
On Council's website www.codc.govt.nz and Facebook page www.facebook.com/centralotagodistrictcouncil we will be regularly posting updates at a local level, including information on Council's essential services and local welfare messages.
Updates will also be published on The Central App. You'll find them within the News section and in the special COVID-19 section. If you don't already have this handy free app, then head to your preferred app store, search "The Central App", install and enjoy all its sections!
For those not online please tune into local radio. Radio Central will be sharing regular bulletins with Council updates. Check out the Radio Central frequencies below for your area:
91.9FM Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell
94.3FM Teviot Valley
And in the Maniototo Burn on 728AM, will be sharing local updates.
Council and Community Board Meetings
Over the next four-week period, all scheduled meetings have been cancelled. All matters that can be deferred, have been deferred until it is practicable to meet as normal. This is subject to change.
Reduced Waste Management Services
Now that we have moved into Alert Level 4 in response to Covid-19, Central Otago District Council has made some necessary changes to the district's rubbish and recycling services.
The changes will affect kerbside collection, recycling and availability of transfer stations throughout the four-week lockdown period outlined by government.
Normal kerbside collection services will continue until Friday 27 March.
All transfer stations will be closed and residents will not be able to drop waste at these facilities. This includes: recycling, green waste, hardfill or large volumes of residential waste.
The only exception is for those residents who do not currently receive kerbside collections. For these people only, a strictly limited service will be available for disposing of household waste at local transfer stations. Please note that large volumes of loose material are not able to be accepted and that all waste must be bagged to minimise the risk to onsite staff.
Opening hours of transfer stations for those without kerbside collection only are:
- Alexandra & Cromwell – Monday & Wednesday between 10am - 12 noon
- Ranfurly & Roxburgh – Thursday between 1pm - 4 pm
For recyclable waste (yellow and blue bins), there will be no recycling services or collections available during the lockdown period.
Residents are being urged to clean and store their glass and mixed recycling at home until normal services resume. Where this is not an option, as a last resort, residents may place these items in their red bins for disposal at landfill.
The disposal of materials to landfill, that could in any other circumstances be recycled, is not our preferred option. However our community, along with the rest of New Zealand, is facing an unprecedented situation.
Ensuring the health and safety of our staff and the wider community is our top priority, and manual sorting of recycling would place staff involved at a higher risk of transmission of Covid-19.
We ask that all residents consider cleaning and storing items that can be recycled until normal waste management services resume.
We appreciate everyone's understanding and cooperation during this time and remind everyone to keep safe, be kind, and remember that we are all in this together.
Water and wastewater
Council's contractors will be continuing to work to ensure that essential water and wastewater services are provided within the district. Work has stopped on major projects and renewals, but our maintenance contractor Fulton Hogan is continuing to carry out the maintenance activities required to ensure these services continue to operate. If you notice any water leaks, or experience wastewater issues then please report it as normal to council on 03 440 0056.
Fulton Hogan will be out and about undertaking essential repairs. Please do not approach the work crews, and maintain safe distancing to ensure everyone stays safe.
Council's roading contractor Fulton Hogan will be working to address issues that compromise public safety or obstruct access to properties. Routine roading activities have been halted for the next four weeks to ensure that we play our part in stopping the spread of Covid-19.
If you notice issues that need to be addressed immediately for safety or to clear roads then please report it to council on 03 440 0056.
All Central Otago pools are closed until further notice
Parks and Reserves
Council's Open Spaces Contractor Delta will be scaling back to essential services only – including rubbish removal at public litter bins and cemetery duties. Mowing of grass is also not being undertaken at this time.
While it is not possible to physically close sports fields and playgrounds, please treat these as closed. Basically consider our public reserve spaces as places for you to pass through only to enjoy, and remember to keep physical distance (at least 2m) from others. Smile and wave, give a thumbs up … but keep your distance.
Planning (Resource Consents)
The processing of resource consent applications will still be undertaken by our staff working remotely. Please also note that due to the nature of some of our processes we may not be able to offer a complete service on some applications during this time, e.g. NES searches, sections 223 & 224 applications. If we are unable to complete these for you, we will confirm this with you at the time of application and endeavour to complete the process as soon as possible once business as usual resumes. We are still confirming arrangements to conduction hearings and will advise relevant parties when we know the outcome of this.
The processing of building consents applications is currently still be undertaken by our staff working remotely, however this is for applications already received. Please also note that due to the nature of some of our processes we may not be able to offer a complete service on applications during this time. We are still confirming potential arrangements to receive and process new applications and will advise when we know the outcome of this, which may not be possible until the emergency level has reduced. We understand this is difficult, but appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.
The alcohol licence application process are still being undertaken by our staff working remotely. Please also note that due to the nature of some of our processes we may not be able to offer a complete service on some applications during this time. We are still confirming potential arrangements to receive and process new applications and will advise when we know the outcome of this, which may not be possible until the emergency level has reduced. We understand this is difficult, but appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.
If your business is still operating as an essential business please make sure you are familiar with the following advice:
Our dog control services remain in place, but are likely to be limited during this time (Level 4). Please be extra vigilant to make sure your pets remain part of your family "bubble" and under control at all times to ensure you, your dog and others maintain social distancing at all times and safe to unite against COVID-19.
Our noise control services are affected by the current restrictions of Alert Level 4, so will not be operating during the lock down period. So please keep the noise down folks!
All Council-managed public toilets in the district will remain open, with the exception of Champagne Gully and Pinders Pond camping area toilet facilities. All toilets throughout the district are now subject to heightened levels of cleaning (hospital grade disinfectant and steam cleaning with Germ Guard). We ask that people take all precautions to practice good hygiene practices: Wash hands. Use soap. 20 seconds at least. Then dry thoroughly. Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Business Support & Services
Our economic and tourism departments are collating information and advice for businesses in Central Otago. See the details here.
Do It Online
While our doors are closed there is a lot you can do online in terms of application forms and payments. Find out more at https://www.codc.govt.nz/services/do-it-online/Pages/default.aspx
And on the topic of doing things online…. How about visiting our digital library!
Our physical library facilities are closed until further notice but our digital library services remain open! The Library's digital collections include eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming movies, research databases and digital magazines and newspapers are available to you 24/7 with your library card. These are free and available through the Library's website. Check out the details at: https://codc-qldc.govt.nz/library-online
If you aren't a member of the library already, did you know you can sign up online and join so you can access this digital world? Here's the https://codc-qldc.govt.nz/join
Book drops are closed. Please do not return materials until further notice.
All overdue and hold fees will be waived.
Your physical items will be automatically renewed to 30 June 2020.
25 March 2020, 3pm
Announcement from Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan:
This is a statement I was hoping I would not need to make and that I know will cause further concern to you.
I am letting you know as soon as possible that the SDHB has confirmed 3 positive COVID-19 cases in Central Otago.
There is one case each in Roxburgh, Cromwell and Alexandra.
None of the cases are thought to be of community transmission.
Further details will be released by the health authorities in due course. As always, the best source of information is https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
We always knew this would occur, although I recognise that having three cases confirmed across our district at the one time will come as a shock to our communities.
This is a timely reminder of why we are going into the lockdown and why we need to unite and take the lockdown requirements extremely seriously. Stay home – save lives.
As always, let’s remain calm in our heads and kind in our hearts. If we do these things, I know we will get through this together.
23 March 2020