Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall is urging the community to follow the rules during the Covid-19 pandemic four-week lockdown.

In a message to the community, McDouall said it was "a strange and uncertain situation and we must take it seriously".

"I urge you to follow the rules during this lockdown. Stay home – and stay safe.

"Go into self-isolation and put into action your plans to stay connected to those who are alone or more vulnerable in our community – this does not mean visiting for a cup of tea, but it may mean dropping off essential items at the door or checking in with a phone call or via the internet each day."

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McDouall said the Whanganui District Council had planned ahead for this and has closed its doors.

"Please be assured that we are taking care of essential services behind the scenes.

"Essentials like water, wastewater management, animal management and rubbish collection will be maintained.

"Whanganui District Health Board has reassured the community that essential health services will be maintained - and I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to those working in the health sector and in civil defence and the provision of essential services. It's important to remember that everyone is doing their best at this time.

"Whanganui people have been through difficult times before and we have risen to the challenges we've faced many times. We do well in a crisis – it brings out the best in us. I have no doubt we will do the same now and each do our part to limit the impact of this virus.

"Remember – follow the rules – stay home and stay safe. Kia kaha."

Council services

The council's call centre is open with essential queries such as drinking water and wastewater, solid waste, essential roading services and animal management having priority. Call (06) 349 0001.

Essential roading services include ensuring lifelines routes are clear and grading rural unsealed roads to keep them driveable and safe for food production and supply trips, and to ensure drainage to channels is functioning. The urban sweeper truck will continue to operate to ensure sumps are kept clear. Requests for help from the public will only be responded to for urgent matters such as drainage alarm faults, slips and trees across roads.

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Whanganui River Rd and Kaiwhaiki Rd are closed to non-residents. Photo / File
Whanganui River Rd and Kaiwhaiki Rd are closed to non-residents. Photo / File

Access to Whanganui River Rd and Kaiwhaiki Rd is now restricted to residents and
essential and emergency services only.

"The main purpose is to deter camper vans from going up and down those roads," council chief executive Kym Fell said.

"There are elderly and vulnerable people in small communities up there. We don't want them exposed to tourists knocking on the door, wanting to use their phones."

Post, medical and family support people will still be allowed through.

All Whanganui roading work was being tidied up and the roads made serviceable before midnight on March 25, infrastructure manager Mark Hughes said.

The front area of the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre in Maria Pl remains open 24/7 for the drop-off of dry recyclables, such as plastic, glass, steel and aluminium cans, but access to the rear of the centre is closed.

Waste Management's Midtown Transfer & Recycling Depot in Liffiton St and the EnviroWaste Wanganui Transfer Station and Recycling Centre in Gilberd St are closed to the public. Commercial customers deemed an essential service will still have access to the Liffiton St depot.

Residential kerbside collection of wheelie bins and stickered rubbish bags will continue on the usual days. Rural waste collection services will continue as usual.

The dog pound is closed to the public but council staff are still attending to the dogs and have ample food, cleaning and basic health supplies. Animal management officers are available for priority incidents where there is immediate threat to any person or property, such as a dog attack or stock wandering on a highway.

The previous announcement that all public toilets will be closed has been reviewed and the Pakaitore Moutoa Gardens toilets and men's and women's toilets in St Hill St will be open 24/7. They will be cleaned twice a day.

All council parks, playgrounds and freedom camping areas are closed.

Dump stations for waste disposal from self-contained vehicles are considered an essential service. Whanganui dump stations are located at Springvale Park, 148 Taupō Quay, Whanganui East Club and Kowhai Park.

All Whanganui libraries are closed and cannot accept returns. Borrowers should hold on to any items until the libraries reopen. There will be no overdue charges.