Waikato District Council community facilities will be closed from Monday, March 23 as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Government has put limits on the number of people who can gather in a space and is urging the practice of ‘physical distancing’– maintaining a space of two metres between people.
Waikato District Council Chief Executive Gavin Ion said the most effective way the council could support the restrictions was to discourage people from gathering in numbers in the community.
“Our facilities are well used by the community. We can ask people to keep their distance from each other and put limits on customer numbers but we can’t guarantee these directions will be followed.
“It’s important we do whatever we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. To do this, we’ve had to make tough calls like temporarily closing a number of our facilities.”
From March 23, all Waikato district libraries will be closed until further notice. The only council sites that will remain open will be the Tuakau office and the Ngaruawahia office. People are asked to only visit these sites if necessary.
All community halls are closed. Pools in Tuakau, Huntly and Ngaruawahia will also be closed, along with the camp grounds in Huntly and Raglan. Permanent residents at each of the camp grounds will remain but will be advised to restrict their use of shared facilities at the sites.
Waikato district parks and other open spaces will remain open, including cemeteries if physical distancing is maintained.
The council will be reviewing these closures on a day-by-day basis.
Ion said many of the council’s community facilities include communal spaces with people in close contact. The council was not in a position to identify customers and help authorities track close contacts if someone who used a facility was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Ion said the situation was unprecedented and evolving and the council would update the community as more information became available from the Government and the Ministry of Health.