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'It’s never OK to abuse or make staff feel unsafe,' this is QLDC chief executive's message to the public after several staff members experienced verbal abuse and threats ahead of the shift to the Orange traffic light setting tomorrow.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council confirmed it will be a requirement for people to use their My Vaccine Pass to enter its facilities.
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People aged 12 and older visiting most of its staffed services, facilities and venues from tomorrow, will need to show proof of full vaccination against Covid-19, and wear a mask on entry.
QLDC chief executive Mike Theelen said the change will be introduced as the district shifts to the Orange light setting of the Government’s Covid-19 Protection Framework (CPF).
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but is an important part of our responsibility to protect our staff and communities as we move into a new phase of living with Covid-19,” he said.
“We have a very high vaccination rate right across the district so most people will be able to continue to use our facilities as usual. For those who can’t, or have chosen not to get vaccinated at this time, we are endeavouring to adapt or modify our services so they can continue to participate in some form. Obviously this can’t include using our pools and gym, but it can mean people accessing a growing range of online and contactless services,” he said.
For the time being, public reception areas at Council offices at Gorge Rd in Queenstown and Ardmore St in Wānaka were open to everyone.
"We know these locations are important for members of the public to ask questions, seek advice and carry out transactions such as rates payments, and we’re confident that through the continued use of plastic screens, face masks and physical distancing we can maintain the safety of customers and staff in these areas at present,” Mr Theelen said.
“We continue to actively review this position to reduce risk to staff and ensure QLDC’s ability to carry out its many key functions and public services.”
“It will take time to get used to the new system so I encourage everyone to be patient and remain kind to one another, especially at this busy time of year. It’s incredibly disappointing that many of our frontline staff are already being verbally abused and threatened and I would ask people to recognise and respect that Council staff are just trying to do their job. These are decisions of Council made in alignment with Government direction and legislation. It’s never OK to abuse or make staff feel unsafe.”
Council will continue to review its policy in line with guidance from Central Government with updates provided to the community at Council venues, its website and social media channels, he said.
The same rules regarding vaccination certificates also apply to Council staff and contractors working in these locations.
The specific facilities and venues that will require proof of vaccination to enter include:
- Queenstown Events Centre (including Alpine Health and Fitness gym, Alpine Aqualand facilities including Swim School, and Rockatipu Climbing Wall);
- Wānaka Recreation Centre including aquatic facilities and Swim School;
- Arrowtown Memorial Pool;
- Frankton Golf Centre (note proof of vaccination is not required to use the golf course itself);
- all QLDC libraries district-wide;
- community venues, including but not limited to Queenstown Memorial Centre, Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall and Lake Wānaka Centre.
A pass won’t be required to access Council-managed transfer stations and recycling centres but all visitors must scan in using the NZ Covid Tracer app or manual registration form, wear a mask and observe 1m physical distancing where possible.
There are additional requirements for some QLDC Sport and Recreation facilities and QLDC Libraries as follows.
For QLDC Sport and Recreation facilities:
- Children aged up to 12 years and 3 months are not required to provide a vaccine certificate or pass.
- Children aged 7 and below must be accompanied by a caregiver aged 16 years or older when accessing facilities with the usual supervision policy ratios; the caregiver must be vaccinated and provide a vaccine pass.
- Children aged 8 or older are able to access facilities unsupervised.
- Non-vaccinated members of Frankton Golf Centre can use the course outdoors but must not enter the golf shop.
- Further information will be publically available at www.qldc.govt.nz/recreation, at QLDC Sport and Recreation venues and emailed to members as required.
For QLDC Libraries:
- All digital library services and content including eBooks, movies and training resources can be accessed remotely by anyone.
- The ‘MyBookBag’ click-and-collect service will be available at selected libraries; go to www.codc-qldc.govt.nz for further details
- All library use is subject to 1m physical distancing meaning each library can host the following maximum number of people at a time: Frankton, Queenstown, Wānaka = maximum 20 people, Arrowtown and Hāwea = maximum 10 people, Glenorchy, Kingston and Makarora = maximum 1 person / 1 bubble.
- To enable as many people as possible to access the libraries each day, users will be asked to limit their visits to 15 minutes.
- All visitors are asked to sign in using the NZ Covid Tracer app (paper sign in forms will also be available).
- Public toilet facilities may not be available at some libraries.
- Meeting rooms and study spaces are not available to members of the public.
- Seating is limited.
- Public computers, e.g. for internet use, are limited in number and time available.