With the nationwide alert level 4 lockdown well under way, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick was asked to share key messages and reflections from a council perspective and tips for surviving the lockdown.
This pandemic has forced us into unfamiliar territory, uncertain about how the world will look when we emerge on the other side.
The council is aligning its response to the Government's strategy to stamp it out, cushion the impact and position for recovery. The focus for everyone right now is supporting the effort to stamp out the virus but the council must also take a longer-term view.
So alongside keeping essential services going, we are looking at what we can do to soften the impact, and position Rotorua for a fast, effective recovery.
First, we will look at the next rates instalment to see what we can do there for those impacted.
People will be affected in different ways to varying degrees and assistance needs to be targeted right, alongside packages coming from central government.
Rotorua is doing its bit to stamp out the virus. A huge thanks to everyone putting themselves at risk to ensure essential services are maintained – we owe you much.
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Thanks also to those in lockdown, taking this seriously and committing to doing the right thing.
Having been in self-isolation since before the alert level 4 lockdown, I've settled into working from home and video and phone conferencing. There has been little downtime with much to do to ensure our community is supported, both now and post-pandemic.
I am really heartened by the acts of kindness and community caring I am seeing, experiencing and hearing about. Many people have contacted me, left meals, baking and fresh produce. I'm also loving the community stories I'm hearing, such as one about local elderly neighbours all sitting outside their homes in the sunshine late one morning having a catch-up.
There will be many stories like this. They give us hope that we will emerge an even stronger, more connected community.
Our 'new normal' is impossible to predict but I think we'll see some old-fashioned values and some great innovation coming through – and we'll be stronger for it.
Kia kaha, stay strong, follow the rules, look after each other, stay connected and be kind. Together, tatau tatau, we will get through this.