Auckland's art galleries, pools, recreational centres and libraries will be closed in response to Covid-19, Mayor Phil Goff says.

The public facilities will be closed for two weeks, Goff said.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, the mayor said he made the closures with regret.

It was a necessary step, he said.


"Our main concern right now is to protect people's health and wellbeing and we are doing this by limiting large crowd interactions where the chance of virus spread is high," he said.

"Our 55 libraries across Auckland receive over 250,000 visits a week, while there are 200,000 visits a week to our swimming pools and leisure centres.

"The services we are closing are highly used and much loved by our communities, but these are not services which have to be maintained to provide the necessities of life.

"I want people to know that this wasn't an easy decision. However, we get far too many people through the door at these facilities to be able to run them safely in light of the current situation."

Goff said he was aware that people could become socially isolated during a time of crisis, in particular older people.

However, it was exactly this group who were most vulnerable to the coronavirus, he said.

There would be no job losses as a result of the closures. But staff at the public facilities could be redirected into other roles related to the Covid-19 response.

Library fines would be waived during the shutdown. Aucklanders were encouraged to make use of e-lending services like audiobooks and video streaming.


Twelve of the 28 confirmed coronavirus cases so far have been in Auckland.

Auckland Council has already cancelled and postponed events following the Government's ban on gatherings of 500 people or more. Indoor events with 100 people or more have also been banned.

Key services including public transport and rubbish and recycling are still continuing as usual. There were also no changes to consent or building inspection processes, though frontline staff were taking extra precautions.

The fallout from Covid-19 is expected to cut the council's revenue by more than $100 million.

Goff has said there will be no additional rates rises to make up for the lost revenue, because it would be unfair as Aucklanders faced the financial strain of heading into a recession.

"Revenue losses in some cases will be quite significant," he said. "I have foreshadowed that this will impose additional constraints on council spending and that it will mean limited new expenditure in the Budget and possibly deferring initiatives which are desirable but non-essential."

The University of Auckland said today it would suspend teaching across its campuses next week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Staff and students have been advised about the decision, which the university is calling a Teaching Free Week.

While students would not be required to attend campus, they were free to do so if they wanted, the university said in a statement.

"This covers all campuses, but does not include teaching for students on placement/practicum and it does not affect research students," it said.

"All student services will remain open and operating on standard hours, including libraries, Kate Edger Information Commons, AskAuckland Central, Recreation Centre, retail outlets, as well as all our student accommodation."