What does Alert Level 4 really look like? 27 March 2020 As people settle into their Alert Level 4 lockdown routines, we’re working with central government agencies around what this actually means in reality. Today our regulatory staff have been tasked to go around the district making a rapid assessment of activities still going on. This includes checking out calls about freedom camping still occurring or shops that are staying open that might not be classified as an “essential service.” These rapid assessments will then be passed on to the police and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to follow up and deal with. Because we’re in a National State of Emergency we are following directives from central government that radically change the way we are now having to deliver services to customers. One of those big changes is to our solid waste service. Kerbside changes - COVID 19 Starting from next week, Monday 30 March, your Kerbside refuse collection will need to be placed in your recycling wheelie bin and will be collected fortnightly. The fortnightly collection will be on your normal recycling day in your normal recycling week. To minimise human contact and the spread of COVID-19, all rubbish and recycling must be bagged and placed in your recycling wheelie bin and will be collected using low touch collection methods (mainly side lifters). This is particularly important if your bin falls over, in which case by bagging all waste and recycling, it will be contained and more easily dealt with. Unfortunately the collectors are not able to pick up spilled rubbish or overturned bins during this time, the resident is responsible for cleaning spilt rubbish. We realise that people might not be able to get our official blue bags, so black bin bags or similar are being accepted. And a friendly reminder when you do your shopping, to stock up on blue bags and black bags. “We realise this is not ideal, but these are not ideal times and we have to do our best together to make this as safe as possible, not just for households, but also our people out there collecting rubbish and recycling,” says Bruce Hinson our Council’s Operations Group Manager. Rubbish or recycling not in a closed recycling wheelie bin and put out on time, before 7:30am on collection day, will not be collected and will be treated as illegal dumping. If you can’t fit it all in the wheelie bin with the lid closed, you can also drop your rubbish in blue Council bags and recycling at a Refuse Transfer Station drop-off point during operating hours. For more information see tcdc.govt.nz/kerbside. Council services and other activities Public toilets: Following guidance from NEMA we will also be reducing the number of public toilets that are open. From today we will be closing most of our public toilets. There will only be 22 public toilets open around the district due to decreased level of demand and to limit the transmission of COVID-19. Toilets that are closed will have closed signs on them and the full list of toilets open can be found here. Building inspections and enquiries: All building inspections are ceased until further notice. We are currently working on the best way to move forward after the lockdown is lifted. We will not be taking any more bookings until we’re out of lockdown. We're adapting to new ways of working and are open for business albeit in a different form. You can still contact us on the details given below. Under Alert Level 4, only tradespeople undertaking work related to essential business or infrastructure are expected to be working outside of the self-isolation protocol. Information about essential business for the building and construction sector is now available on the government website - building.govt.nz. Consents: Building and resource consents are still being processed and we’re still working to meet our statutory deadlines. Track applications online here. Playgrounds, parks and reserves: Our Council playgrounds are closed and we’ve also closed off our drinking fountains and water sources to minimise the chance for contamination and spread of any germs. Some areas of our parks and reserves may need to be restricted, or serviced at a lower frequency, to enable our contractors to focus on public toilets. We are maintaining areas of our parks and reserves, including, some mowing, however it is likely this will decrease over time. Similarly, airfield mowing is still being undertaken to maintain the runway surfaces, but the airfields are not intended for recreational use. Boat Ramps: The Government’s clear intention at this stage is that fishing and hunting are prohibited during the Alert Level 4 lockdown period. Fish & Game New Zealand is urging all anglers and hunters to do the right thing and stay at home during this period. Click here to read more. Coastguard New Zealand is also asking people not to go out on the water during the lockdown period to avoid putting themselves or Coastguard volunteers in harm’s way. Our boat ramps are still open as commercial fisherman still need access, however they are not intended for recreational use at this time. See more from Coastguard here. Dogs: You can still walk your dogs but remember our dog control rules still apply and your dogs should also maintain a two metre distance from others. You need to have your dog on lead at all times unless specified. See tcdc.govt.nz/dogs for details. Freedom Camping: We’re looking at options for where to send freedom campers. Water Restrictions: We still have water restrictions in place; however to assist with the COVID-19 response, these have been reduced and will be reassessed regularly. See tcdc.govt.nz/water for updates. Pools and libraries: Our pools and District libraries are closed however members can access over 18,000 e-books and e-audiobooks, which can be borrowed online 24/7 - tcdc.govt.nz/libraries. Contact us: 07 868 0200 firstname.lastname@example.org tcdc.govt.nz Facebook page Email newsletters Online payments Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) Our EOC is now up and running out of our Council office in Thames. The EOC was established for the Thames-Coromandel, Matamata-Piako and Hauraki Districts. Their focus is on understanding the needs of all our communities, having systems in place to ensure we’re supporting anyone in need, and forward planning for our communities during this emergency. Stay home, save lives “A big thumbs up to all of you who are taking this seriously and staying at home, inside your bubble and not contacting or spreading this terrible virus.” Click to hear from our Mayor Sandra Goudie on day one of lockdown.