Hamiltonians will be able to borrow library books, head to their favourite community facility, and enjoy the city's renowned playgrounds under Covid-19 alert level 2.

Hamilton City Council is gearing up to resume its operations according to government guidelines when the country moves to level 2 on Thursday.

Many of the Council's community facilities will reopen at a reduced capacity under level 2, with physical distancing, maximum visitor numbers, and contact tracing measures in place.

Council services that weren't operating at level 3 will also resume as much as possible while adhering to the level 2 rules.

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Chief Executive Richard Briggs says the health and wellbeing of the community and staff remains the council's priority.

"Our team kept the city's essential services running while we were in lockdown and resumed some key operations under alert level 3 to support businesses that were able to get back to work," he says.

"While we can't wait to welcome visitors back to our much-loved community facilities, there will be some necessary changes to how we operate while we're at alert level 2.

"These are to protect the wellbeing of our community and preserve the massive sacrifices we've all made to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

"We're asking Hamiltonians to please adhere to the guidelines in place if visiting a council facility, and be kind to our staff and one another."

General guidelines at council facilities under Alert Level 2
Two-metre physical distancing will be expected at all council facilities, with signs and floor markings installed to help maintain this. Visitors will be required to provide their name and contact details at some facilities so contact tracing can be done if necessary.

Surfaces at council facilities will be frequently cleaned and hand sanitiser will be available for visitors to use. People who are feeling sick or unwell must stay home.

Parks and playgrounds
Playgrounds will reopen under Alert Level 2. Council staff will clean all playgrounds with an environmentally friendly disinfectant and inspect all play equipment before taking down the security tape. Public toilets in parks and carparks locked during levels 3 and 4 will reopen.

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While signage will be installed reminding everyone to stay 2m away from people they don't know, parents and caregivers will need to be especially mindful their children are physical distancing at busy playgrounds.

Sports parks
Sports grounds around the city will be back in use once the sporting codes have decided when competition will resume. As part of their booking request to the council, the codes will need to submit a plan describing how they will manage government requirements such as physical distancing and contact tracing.

Hamilton Pools
Waterworld and Gallagher Aquatic Centre will reopen with restrictions to ensure swimmers and spectators can stay safely apart. Pools will be available for lane swimming only and limits on numbers per lane. Facilities where physical distancing will be a problem, such as toddler pools and playgrounds and Waterworld's hydroslides, spa and steam rooms, will remain closed.

Numbers will be limited to 100 customers at any time at Waterworld and fewer at the smaller Gallagher Aquatic Centre. Gym rooms and group fitness classes will have maximum numbers, and the Learn to Swim programme will be available for one-to-one or family lessons only.

Hamilton City Libraries
All branches will reopen with reduced hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.30pm; Saturday, 9am to 12.30pm; Sunday, closed. For the first two weeks of alert level 2, library users can return items via the after-hours slots and collect new items using a new contactless Click and Collect service.

Customers will not be able to enter branches to browse the shelves or use computers or toilets until branches fully reopen in a few weeks.

Libraries staff are encouraging borrowers not to rush to bring their loans back, so returns can be processed over time and not all at once. All loans have been extended to June 30.

Hamilton Gardens will introduce a one-way system through its themed gardens to make sure visitors can keep safely apart. Photo / Supplied
Hamilton Gardens will introduce a one-way system through its themed gardens to make sure visitors can keep safely apart. Photo / Supplied

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens will introduce a one-way system through its themed gardens to make sure visitors can keep safely apart. Visitors' contact details will be collected using a QR code. Some gardens will be intermittently closed as staff resume regular maintenance duties. The café and Information Centre will also reopen, and spaces are available again for functions of no more than 100 people.

Hamilton Zoo
Hamilton Zoo will reopen with visitor numbers restricted to 500 at any one time and a one in/one out system in place. Animal encounters and keeper talks will not be immediately available while Zoo staff investigate how to offer these in a way that keeps staff, visitors and animals safe. Some paths will become one way to ensure visitors can stay safely apart as they move through the Zoo. The café will be takeaway only and the playground will be open.

The Zoo will be closed on Mondays for the foreseeable future to enable extra cleaning of public spaces and to take the pressure off staff, many of whom have worked through all alert levels in reduced numbers.

Waikato Museum
Waikato Museum, ArtsPost and Hamilton i-SITE will reopen from Friday May 15. Opening hours will be 10am to 5pm daily for Waikato Museum and 10am to 4pm daily for ArtsPost and i-SITE. Visitor numbers will be restricted to 100 people for Waikato Museum and 30 people for ArtsPost/i-SITE. No cash will be accepted.

Hamilton cemeteries
The cemeteries office and gates will reopen, and families can now book a visit to choose a plot. Ash interments will resume. Funeral services will remain at a maximum of 10 people for two weeks, when the Government will reassess restrictions on gatherings. Physical distancing will need to be maintained and funeral directors will collect details for contact tracing.

Waikato Museum, ArtsPost and Hamilton i-SITE will reopen from Friday May 15. Photo / File
Waikato Museum, ArtsPost and Hamilton i-SITE will reopen from Friday May 15. Photo / File

Municipal Building

The Council's Municipal Building in Garden Place will reopen from 7.45am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, from Monday 18 May. Entry will be through the Garden Place entrance only. Visitor numbers will be limited to five people at a time.

Transportation
The Hamilton Transport Centre will reopen as school and work commuters return. The Garden Place underground carpark is planned to reopen when Centre Place reopens.

Rubbish and recycling collection
There will be no immediate changes to the current rubbish and recycling service under Alert Level 2. Rubbish bags will continue to be collected as normal. Rinsed glass jars and bottles placed in a green recycling crate will be collected. Paper and cardboard will also be collected as normal but sent to landfill.

Council meetings
Council and committee meetings, briefings and workshops will continue to be conducted remotely via Zoom under Covid-19 Alert Level 2. The meetings and briefings will be live streamed on the council's website for the public to watch and uploaded to the council's YouTube channel. Members of the public can have their say about items on the meeting's agenda either via Zoom or by providing a written submission.

Council events and permitting
Events managed by Hamilton City Council will only go ahead where the central government guidance for gatherings under Alert Level 2 can be met. Events that require a council permit will need to show how the event will meet the Alert Level 2 guidance for gathering. Citizenship ceremonies are on hold – citizenship certificates will be sent to applicants who were scheduled to attend a ceremony.

Animal Education and Control
The Animal Education and Control Office on Ellis St in Frankton will be open from 1pm to 3pm daily. Adoption visits are by appointment only. All services, including responding to roaming dog reports, will restart. The date to register a dog has been extended to 30 September. Invoices will be delivered in mid to late June. The prompt payment discount period will be extended with details on the invoice. Dogs must be kept on a lead while exercising (including at off-lead dog parks) so physical distancing can be maintained between owners.

City Safe
City Safe patrols in the CBD will restart in addition to the Suburban Response Team.

Alcohol licensing
Applications for alcohol licenses or manager's certificates can be made electronically and interviews or meetings with applicants will be done over the phone or via Zoom.

Fluoride-free water
Fluoride-free water will be available from the taps at Taitua Arboretum and Claudelands Park as soon as the appropriate maintenance and checks have been completed to ensure they are safe and ready to be used again by the public.