This week, New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2, signaling the start of a return to a new ‘normal’ way of life.
The restrictions we have experienced since March will start to ease, but the message from the government is clear - we still need to play it safe.
Although more Aucklanders will be able to return to work under Level 2, Auckland Emergency Management will continue to provide support to those who need it.
Looking forward to the week ahead, there are also other key issues that Aucklanders need to be aware of, including the introduction of mandatory water restrictions on Saturday, 16 May.
Tracking welfare assistance numbers
Auckland Emergency Management has launched a new online dashboard which displays up-to-date data around the welfare assistance requests from across the region. Please note, this is best viewed on desktop.
The snapshot is updated every weekday by midday and includes information such as the number of calls to the support line and number of requests for food and essential household supplies.
During Alert Levels 3 and 4, Auckland Emergency Management received more than 33,700 calls to its welfare distribution call centre, with 17,000 requests for assistance. As a result, around 32,000 packages of food and essential supplies have been delivered to Aucklanders since the start of lockdown.
Water restrictions in place from Saturday
Auckland is experiencing one of its most prolonged dry periods and as of Saturday 16 May, mandatory water restrictions will be in place.
The total volume of water stored in our dams is currently around 45 per cent (13 May), which is well below average for this time of year (76 per cent).
Stage 1 restrictions will prohibit the use of outdoor hoses and water-blasters for residential use. Commercial car washes will also be unable to operate unless they use recycled water.
Washing our hands remains essential at Level 2, even during water restrictions, but turn off taps as much as possible during the process. We can take other small steps to make a difference – reduce shower time to four minutes, turn off taps when brushing our teeth, and only run washing machines or dishwashers when full. Think before you use and be a water saving hero.
Auckland Council facilities begin to reopen
Today (14 May) Auckland Council reopened all 885 of its playgrounds across the region, as well as other facilities in local parks such as exercise equipment, basketball courts, skate parks, pump tracks and BBQs. Auckland Botanic Gardens is also open to the public.
The remainder of the council’s large network of facilities – such as libraries, leisure centres and community venues – will begin to reopen from next week.
Regional Facilities Auckland will also begin opening its iconic spaces in the coming weeks with Mt Smart, North Harbour and Western Springs stadiums, and Aotea Centre opening to the public from Monday 18 May.
Golden rules for Alert level 2
Travel and public transport
Under Alert Level 2, Aucklanders will be able to travel freely around the region and beyond as long as they do so safely, following the advice of the government and travel operators.
Using Public Transport safely
Government guidelines around travelling on public transport include maintaining social distancing. To ensure this is possible, Auckland Transport will be reducing the number of passengers permitted on a bus, train or ferry at any one time.
There will be signs to show you where you can sit, and you are asked to avoid sitting next to someone you don’t know.
It is recommended that you plan your trip by using the AT Journey Planner or the AT Mobile app. As well as giving you real-time bus and train updates, you can also check the capacity of a service before you board.
If you don’t have internet access, you can call 0800 103 080
Gatherings, events and public venues.
- You can have friends and family over to your home, or attend weddings and religious services, but numbers are limited to up to 10 people
- For funeral and tangihanga, up to 50 people can attend as long as public health measures are met. This includes social distancing and no food or drink congregations afterwards.
Many public venues can reopen at Level 2, including museums, cinemas, markets, restaurants, cafes and bars (only for dining until 21 May).
All public venues must keep records to enable contact tracing and manage their numbers to ensure that:
- every individual or group of 10 is kept 1 metre apart
- no group has more than 10 people.
Important information you need to know for support
The latest COVID-19 help, advice and updates from Government are available at covid19.govt.nz
Managing your mental wellbeing - For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 for free to talk with a trained counsellor.
Ongoing financial support - call 0800 559 009 or visit workandincome.govt.nz
Feeling unwell – call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
Auckland welfare assistance - call 0800 22 22 96 between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week.
If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, phone the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–10pm, 7 days a week).