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Council cancels upcoming events in response to latest Government announcement

90300179 3151170858280277 7550163064503402496 nHastings District Council has been closely following the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak and is responding to the latest Government directive to limit events to gatherings of no more than 500 people.

The announcement made on Monday afternoon by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will affect events across the region, including council’s popular Osthmanthus Garden Lantern Festival and The Big Easy and Little Easy Central Hawke’s Bay.

“We know this outbreak is going to have a large impact on not only our Hastings district and the wider Hawke’s Bay region, but also the rest of the country and the globe,” said Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

 “It is really important that we look out for our whanau, family and friends – check on your neighbours and in particular our seniors who live by themselves.

“We are committed to doing whatever is required by the Ministry of Health to limit the impact of COVID-19 on our community – their wellbeing is our number one priority.

“As mayor, I am working together with a large group of primary producers, government agencies, Civil Defence and other councils to listen to our community’s concerns and find ways we can help support businesses and people staying in jobs.

“Our region’s leaders are also looking at a regional package to help stimulate the local economy and keep our people in employment.”

Chief executive Nigel Bickle said the council was keeping abreast of the rapidly evolving situation and any decisions relating to its other operations would be guided by the Ministry of Health.

“In the event of a pandemic, or any health-related event, our role is to support the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board in their response, as directed by the Ministry of Health.

“We have pandemic response plans and business continuity plans ready to activate if required, to ensure essential services such as refuse collections, water and sewerage continue to be provided in the event of an outbreak.”

Information supplied by the Ministry of Health and the Hawke’s Bay DHB has been circulated among council staff advising on the importance of washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes to avoid transmission, and reminders to stay home if unwell.

Council facilities are also being supplied with posters and information sheets from the Hawke’s Bay DHB as a reminder to observe good hygiene practices.

“At this stage council facilities such as the library, art gallery, pools, sports and community centres remain open. We would just reiterate that members of the public stay home if they feel unwell,” said Mr Bickle.

“We are reviewing all events booked in our facilities to ensure they are within the public gathering limit of 500 people, and will continue to update our event management and facility operations to adhere to directives from central government.”

The Hastings community is advised to keep up to date with Ministry of Health updates and health advice at www.health.govt.nz/covid-19.

19 March 2020

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