Thank you, Aucklanders, for working so hard during Alert Level 4 to help keep the rate of transmission of COVID-19 to one of the lowest levels of anywhere in the world. You have helped save hundreds of lives.
We are now in Alert Level 3, with some significant expansions of what we can do, allowing many more people back to work, restaurants and cafes to provide takeaways, and people to expand their bubbles to include close family members.
Unfortunately, with a “school’s out” sense of freedom, some people are no longer observing physical distancing, which health authorities tell us is vital at this point to prevent the resurgence of coronavirus. My plea to all Aucklanders is to continue to observe the practices that health authorities tell us are necessary to avoid further outbreaks of the virus, which could require us to return to tighter restrictions.
So please keep up the good work: stay home, work from home if you can, travel only for essential employment or to access essential services, and maintain physical distance of at least two metres from anyone who is not in your bubble. Be sure to continue regular handwashing, and if you are sick, stay at home and quickly seek advice from your GP or Healthline about getting a test. Working together in this way will give us the best chance of ensuring that we can move quickly to Level 2 and that we don’t have to return to Level 4 lockdown.
Construction crews back in action
Auckland Council and its agencies worked hard during the lockdown to ensure that construction work could restart as soon as the country moved to Level 3, and you will notice work resuming on sites across Auckland. This is good news for the thousands of employees who will be returning to work and the companies involved, and it will also progress much-needed Auckland infrastructure and generate jobs and growth to assist the economic recovery.
We want to get back to work as quickly as possible, but we also need to lock in the progress we have made in stopping the spread of COVID-19. This means it won’t be business as usual during Level 3—there will be a strong focus on measures to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 transmission. In addition, Auckland Council facilities such as libraries, pools, leisure centres, community venues and customer service centres will remain closed, as will playgrounds in our parks. Visit ourauckland.nz for the latest information about council facilities and services during Level 3.
More space for people walking and riding bikes
During the lockdown, many people across the city got outside for exercises on our streets, with the number of people walking and cycling increasing by 100 per cent in some areas. To help accommodate this and ensure that walkers and people on bikes have space for physical distancing, Auckland Transport is rolling out temporary cycleways and wider footpaths at 20 sites across the city. This extra space will also help keep people safe as the number of cars on the road increases at Level 3. Please remember to look out for your fellow road users, take extra care and help keep yourself and others safe.
Remember to save water
Finally, a reminder about water usage. While the recent sunny days have been enjoyable, the lack of rainfall means that our water supply is experiencing a critical shortage, with storage levels at around 48 per cent, significantly lower than the average of 76 per cent for this time of year. Please save water where you can: take shorter showers and don’t wash your car or hose the garden. Visit waterforlife.org.nz for more water-saving tips.