Week two of Alert Level 2 sees more businesses reopening, children returning to school and more people heading back to their places of work. As a result, the region’s roads and public spaces are busier than they have been since lockdown began and Aucklanders should all take extra care when out and about.
We’re also being reminded to save water where we can, with Stage 1 mandatory restrictions in place to help tackle the drought that is currently biting the region.
Tracking welfare assistance numbers
Since the welfare distribution centre was established, Auckland Emergency Management has received more than 34,200 calls to its helpline, with 17,400 requests for assistance and around 16,000 households supported.
You can see the up-to-date numbers around the welfare support programme via Auckland’s new online dashboard. It is best viewed on a desktop.
Water restrictions are now in place
Auckland is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history and as a result, stage 1 mandatory water restrictions are now in place.
The total volume of water stored in our dams is currently around 43.4 per cent (20 May), which is well below average for this time of year (77 per cent). See the water supply update for details.
Stage 1 restrictions 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. Think before you use and be a water saving hero.
Advice for boat owners
Boat owners are being asked to adhere to the water restrictions, including not using outdoor hoses or water blasters to clean down boats. Instead, they should look to use non-potable (untreated) water for this purpose, with small rain tanks being used as one method of collecting this resource.
Auckland Council libraries and leisure centres begin to reopen
Auckland Council has this week begun opening its beloved libraries and leisure centres to the public as part of its phased approach to reopening its network of more than 400 facilities under Alert Level 2. Click here for a full PDF list of what facilities are opening when.
However, due to Auckland’s current water shortage, council-owned and operated swimming pools will remain closed.
Bars can now reopen
As of Thursday (21 May) bars can reopen as long as they have a number of public health measures in place, including:
- Keep records to enable contact tracing
- every individual or group of 10 is kept 1 metre apart
- no group has more than 10 people
- all patrons are seated, with a single server per table
Travel and public transport
Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy
With restrictions on travel lifted and more Aucklanders heading back to work or out on the school run, the region’s roads are starting to get busier. During lockdown, all driver licences, WoFs, CoFs and some vehicle certifications that expired on or after January 1 2020 were temporarily extended. However, since the start of Alert Level 2, around 25 per cent of vehicles found stationary on the motorway were those without a current WoF or CoF and NZTA is reminding drivers that it’s their responsibility to assess their vehicle’s safety, especially after weeks of little to no use.
At a minimum, you should self-inspect your vehicle using the TWIRL procedure (tyres, windscreen, wipers, mirrors, indicators, rust and lights) before heading out on the roads.
Operators of heavy vehicles should also follow NZTA’s inspection guidelines.
Using Public Transport safely
Government guidelines around travelling on public transport include maintaining social distancing. To ensure this is possible, Auckland Transport have reduced the number of passengers permitted on a bus, train or ferry at any one time.
There are signs to show you where you can sit, and you are asked to avoid sitting next to someone you don’t know. Physical distancing should also be observed at all AT facilities such as stations, platforms and stops.
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. Buses will also display the number of people they can take with physical distancing restrictions in place.
If you don’t have internet access, you can call 0800 103 080
Music bringing people together
More than 250 musicians from around the world have come together to play alongside the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra for its first Virtual Play-in.
In April, the APO put a global call out to musicians, asking them to record a video of themselves playing Radetsky March by Johann Strauss Sr. The music was specially arranged so everyone could join in.
Submissions were received from musicians from Aotearoa, Mexico, USA, Canada, Spain, Japan, China, Australia, UK, Ireland and Denmark.
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).