Auckland Council has confirmed that all its staffed services and facilities will require the use of vaccination passes when they reopen until at least 17 January 2022.
Mayor Phil Goff says he is supportive of the decision, which will help keep the council’s staff and customers safe.
“We have a responsibility to do all we can to reduce the possibility of transmission within our facilities and keep our staff and customers as safe as possible,” Mayor Phil Goff says.
“Research shows that the risk of infection between two unvaccinated people is 20-fold higher than between two vaccinated people.
“We want to stress that people without vaccination passes will still be able to access our services, but the service may be delivered to unvaccinated customers in a different way than before. For example, we are currently planning for outdoor service provision wherever possible at our libraries, and will continue to provide our highly popular Wi-Fi, digital and ‘Click-and-Collect’ services.”
Facilities that require vaccination passes
- Gyms/Fitness Functions
- Learn to swim programmes (for customers older than 12 years)
- Recreation/Leisure Centres
- Pools and aquatic centres
- Holiday parks
- Arts facilities
- Community centres
- Animal shelters
- Service Centres (integrated and standalone)
- Cemetery offices (with alternatives)
- Visitor Centres – Arataki, Botanic Gardens
- Tipping Point (Waitākere) recycling centre
Facilities that do not require vaccination passes
- Baches, camping sites and lodges (Regional Parks)
- Community venues for hire through booking
- Cemeteries (excluding offices)
- Waste transfer stations
Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of the council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, says restricting physical access to council services is not a decision taken lightly.
“I fully support the staff in this decision. Vaccinations play a critical role in keeping Aucklanders safe from COVID-19 and is the best way of protecting our people against the virus.
“Ultimately, as we move through the Government’s COVID-19 settings, we want as many Aucklanders as possible to be able to enjoy our facilities again, but we also need to ensure we’re doing everything we can to keep our staff and customers safe.
“Making this decision has been extremely difficult. We know Aucklanders love their libraries, art galleries, community centres, visitor centres and more, and we want as many people as possible to make the most of and enjoy our region.
“However, we need to balance this against the clear risk that COVID-19 poses, especially to the most vulnerable in our community – such as people with pre-existing conditions or the under-12s and others who cannot be vaccinated. The simple fact is that a vaccinated person with COVID-19 is much less likely to spread the virus while in a council venue.”
Auckland Council’s Director Customer and Community Services, Dr Claudia Wyss, says it’s important for customers to know that this is an interim approach that will be regularly reviewed as public health advice or settings within the new framework change.
“As we have adopted a new policy for staff, which will require employees who work in our facilities, offices or out in the field, and a range of people who work for us, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, we have had to give serious consideration to the role of vaccinations for customers using our services and facilities,” says Dr Wyss.
“Because Auckland is moving into the COVID-19 Protection Framework shortly, we are putting an interim process in place. We will continue to develop our long-term position and approach to keep Aucklanders and our staff safe as we move through the framework.
“Given the fluidity of the situation we need to be able to adapt as required. So we have agreed this current position until 17 January 2022. This means we can continuously review risks, changes to traffic light settings and have the flexibility to change this position at any time.
“After considering several factors, including the Government’s new COVID-19 Protection Framework, roles and services covered under the Vaccination Order, legal advice and the risk assessments carried out for staff and customers, for an interim period, all our staffed services and facilities will require the use of vaccination passes when they reopen until at least 17 January 2022. This will help to protect Aucklanders and reduce the risk of any potential spread of COVID-19 within our facilities.
“Therefore, vaccination passes will be required for everyone aged 12 years three months and over wherever council staff provide a service to customers. This includes our libraries, arts facilities, service centres, visitor centres, recycling facilities, cemetery offices, pool and leisure centres, animal shelters and community centres.
“There will be some exemptions to this rule. Baches, lodges, venues for hire, cemeteries (excluding office spaces) and certain other spaces will not require passes, but all will require the wearing of masks, physical distancing and other measures to remain safe.
“Generally, these exemptions are because of the small number of people who are already associated with each other in the same space, such as a stand-alone bach with no shared facilities. For our venues for hire, we will be asking hirers to manage the health and safety of the venue users and follow the rules set out in the COVID-19 Protection Framework.
“In addition to vaccine passes, and to ensure any potential health and safety risks remain low, we will continue to use the controls already available, such as the mandated use of masks/face coverings, tightly managing the numbers of people in our buildings and facilities to ensure good physical distancing can be maintained, scanning, regular cleaning and the provision of hand sanitiser.
“Our teams will be asking for vaccination certificates to be presented and masks to be worn before entry to our venues and we appreciate our customers’ support and patience while these safety measures are being implemented.
“We will also continue to take advice from the Government and monitor best public health practice to adapt our controls if necessary, to ensure our facilities remain safe to use.”