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Mayor Phil Goff calls on Auckland businesses to ramp up working from home

Published: 21 March 2020

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is calling on all Auckland businesses that can do so to support their staff to work from home, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Phil Goff said, “I welcome the clarity of the Prime Minister’s announcement today and the alert level system that has been introduced.

“The Prime Minister’s advice to businesses across New Zealand is clear – where possible, staff should work from home. It is one of the most effective steps we can take to reduce the risk of community transmission of the virus.

“With 11 new cases around the country, including two not yet directly linked to international travel, it’s critical we collectively ramp up our efforts to reduce social contact.

“Already, around 50 per cent of the council’s staff are working from home and, consistent with the Prime Minister’s direction, we will be ramping that up over the coming days.

“Last week we successfully upped the capacity of our ICT systems so that up to 6000 people can work from home. Progressively through next week, we’ll get to 75 per cent of staff working remotely.

“We have also taken steps to ensure the safety and resilience of our key workers, to ensure we can protect and maintain essential services. Key workers are in some instances being split between different worksites, and we have increased the level of cleaning at workplaces and are ensuring greater physical distance between staff.

Public transport measures increased

Auckland Council and Auckland Transport are also stepping up measures on public transport, the Mayor said.

“We have stepped up deep cleaning of our public transport services, installed new sanitiser stations at transport hubs and stations and, from Monday, cash fares will not be accepted on bus services to minimise the physical contact between customers, AT staff and bus drivers.

“For the 7 per cent of our public transport users who don’t already have a HOP card, free ones are being made available for bus passengers – 400 of these were taken up yesterday.

“We have also observed a significant reduction in patronage as more people work from home or practice physical distancing. This means people can better keep at a reasonable distance from each other while continuing to use public transport services to go about essential business.

“Further announcements relating to our public transport system can be expected as we continue to step up our response to ensure the safety of staff and passengers.

Aucklanders urged to follow advice of health authorities

“I am keeping in touch with the Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, and his advice is that while local and central government can do a lot to help prevent transmission of the virus, it also comes down to individuals following the advice of health authorities. We urge people to do so,” Phil Goff said.

“A key concern is for older people, immunocompromised people, and those with underlying health conditions. While it’s important for these groups to be self-isolating, we must continue to offer our connection, assistance and support. Be a good friend, family member or neighbour.”

Read more: COVID-19

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