Western Bay of Plenty District Council will resume some of its services, projects and operations next week as the nation moves to alert level 3 next week.
Under alert level 3 guidelines, council's essential services will be operational, as well as all other maintenance, projects and services that will meet the Government's safety criteria.
Council chief executive Miriam Taris says for the majority of council staff there will be little change from level 4, with most continuing to work remotely, but some services will resume.
She says all services that will operate under alert level 3 will minimise personal interactions among staff and with the public and ensure all appropriate health, hygiene and safety measures are in place.
Reserves staff, meter readers and key contractors will be back at work and the council's call centre will continue to operate on a rostered basis with a small team.
Council is considering reopening its recycling centres to collect material for recycling under alert level 3 where this meets Covid-19 risk management guidelines.
"At this stage we are working through site operational protocols to ensure that we can meet the requirements for alert level 3," says Miriam.
"We realise there is demand for some of our services to resume – such as recycling – but it is critical that we remain as careful as possible until alert level 3 is reviewed by Cabinet on May 11."
All council facilities and public venues, playgrounds, pools, boat ramps, halls and other public venues will remain closed, however arrangements are under way to prepare for reopening when New Zealand shifts to alert level 2.
Public open spaces including reserves and dog parks may be used, but the public are reminded to maintain the two-metre physical distancing rule in these areas and not to touch any facilities. Mowing at reserves will resume to restore normal grass levels.
Public toilets at 18 locations across the district will also remain open with additional cleaning procedures in place.
Libraries and service centres will remain closed but free Wi-Fi sites will be available outside service centres in Katikati, Te Puke, Waihi Beach and Omokoroa from 8am until 8pm, seven days a week.
Appropriate measures will be in place to ensure users are kept safe and adhere to physical distancing restrictions.
"This will be good news for those in our communities without internet and who have been disadvantaged during alert level 4 lockdown," says Miriam.
"It will also be welcomed by our seasonal workers and those visitors trapped in New Zealand due to border controls who need to be in contact with family members."
Council meetings, public consultation and hearings are to be carried out virtually.
The Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) function will also continue.
Council offices will remain closed to the public at alert level 3.
Residents can and should continue to seek assistance from the council's Customer Services team by phoning 07 571 8008 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org