Hamilton City Council is making changes to community facilities and programmes from tomorrow (Saturday 21 March) following the Government’s new limits on mass gatherings.
Indoor gatherings are now limited to a maximum of 100 people and the Government is urging ‘social distancing’ – maintaining a space of two metres between people. The restrictions are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Chief Executive Richard Briggs says the Council is focused on keeping the community and staff safe but also on continuing to meet community expectations.
“We are examining all aspects of our business to see how we can do things differently but still effectively,” Mr Briggs says.
Waterworld, the Gallagher Aquatic Centre, Hamilton Gardens, Waikato Museum and the Central and community libraries all remain open but there are now limits on numbers.
Customers at these facilities will be restricted to 100 people at any one time. All customers will be asked to be responsible about maintaining a distance when using Council facilities.
Hamilton Libraries has closed the Makerspace in the Central Library due to difficulties in meeting social distancing requirements. The following public programmes at all libraries have been suspended for the same reason: Wriggle and Rhyme, Storytime, The Lab, School Holiday Programme and Computer Mentors.
At the Central Library, additional programmes are also on hold: Lego Mindstorms, Mandarin Storytime, Makey-Makey, Teen Book Club, Youth Quiz Night, English Language Corner, Enrich Classes, Writer’s Den and Toastmasters.
The Lab and Reading Buddies programmes run through Hamilton community centres have been suspended.
Hamilton Libraries is looking at potentially shifting some programmes such as Storytime and Wriggle and Rhyme online and will increase homebound services for customers in self-isolation. The loan period for all library items has been extended and customers are encouraged to borrow from the e-book collection.
Mayor Paula Southgate says the Council measures are necessary to keep the community healthy and safe.
“I know this is a really unsettling time for people but I also know the people of Hamilton will want to do their part to keep the wider community safe. So I absolutely support these measures and I’m confident people will understand Richard and his team have taken them.”
Hamilton Zoo has suspended the visitor education programme, animal encounters and keeper talks, however still remains open at this time.
Education and public programmes at Waikato Museum will be put on hold if the two-metre distancing cannot be maintained. ArtsPost and the i-SITE remain open.
Hamilton Gardens remains fully open but events in the Pavilion have been limited to gatherings where social distancing can be maintained.
Funeral services at the Hamilton Park Cemetery and Crematorium chapel are still going ahead with attendees required to maintain a two-metre distance from each other.
Council staff will be reinforcing the social distancing message as customers enter any of our facilities with signage to be put in place within a few days.