The sound of children playing has returned to Auckland’s neighbourhoods on Thursday when 885 playgrounds across the region are reopened.
Auckland Council will reopen all of its playgrounds when New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2 on Thursday 14 May, along with other facilities in local parks such as exercise equipment, basketball courts, skate parks and pump tracks.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “Our playgrounds are much-loved by Aucklanders and it’s great to see them reopening in Level 2.
“Please enjoy them with your families but remember to follow health guidelines. Most importantly, remind children to wash their hands frequently, keep up physical distancing and don’t use playground equipment if anyone in your family feels unwell.”
Aucklanders will also begin to see a large number of public toilets reopened over the next week, however some will remain closed while we bring them up to the standard now required for hand washing.
Chief executive Stephen Town says that along with reopening many of the facilities Aucklanders love, the council will continue to offer help and support to Aucklanders who need it most.
“We are keeping our efforts to help Aucklanders in need. But we’re also moving to bring back many of the services Aucklanders know and love, including libraries and playgrounds, in a way that is safe and enjoyable for everyone.”
While the majority of facilities within local parks will reopen again, the council’s response to Auckland’s drought means that water features, fountains, outdoor showers and drinking fountains will remain closed while restrictions are in place.
Looking ahead, gates to our regional parks will reopen on Saturday, and the Arataki Visitor Centre and Auckland Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre will reopen from Monday, 18 May.
The remainder of our large network of facilities – such as libraries, leisure centres and community venues – will begin to reopen from next week.
“We plan to open these facilities in a phased way so that we can meet the COVID-19 health and safety requirements set out by the government,” says Mr Town.
“This includes ensuring staff and visitors in our facilities can maintain safe physical distances, that we have appropriate cleaning and hygiene measures in place, and that we can accurately contact trace all people coming in and out of our facilities.
“We also have some areas of our organisation, such as our libraries, where staff are currently redeployed to support our welfare response, or are vulnerable and unable to return to their normal place of work, which means we need to balance reopening with being able to effectively staff our facilities.”
Also opening from Monday will be the council’s customer service centres in Henderson, Orewa, Manukau, Papakura, Pukekohe, Warkworth, Waiheke, Great Barrier Island and Bledisloe House in the city centre.
Further details around the phased reopening of libraries, leisure centres and community venues will be released on Friday.