Supermarkets are one of the few retail places that will remain open over the lockdown. Photo: NZ Herald

Covid-19 updates: What you need to know today in Nelson, March 25

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• Coronavirus alert level at 3, moving to alert level 4 at 11.59pm tonight – PM says to act as if already in lockdown and stay at home

• All non-essential businesses or services – bars, cafes, gyms, cinemas – should already be closed

• Ratepayers worried about paying rates should contact the council

• Nelson playgrounds shut

• Coastguard asks locals not to go out on water

• Freedom camping spots in Tasman closed

• Govt and banks have agreed for a six-month mortgage-repayment holiday

• All schools, universities and other education facilities to close from tomorrow

Nelsonians should be preparing to move to alert level 4 tonight as more clarity about what is allowed to remain open during the 4-week lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has moved to ease the fallout by revealing a 48-hour reprieve for those unable to make it home by tonight, extending visas for tens of thousands of migrant workers and international students, and negotiating a six-month holiday for mortgage repayments.

Late last night the Government also clarified what essential services will remain open during the four-week lockdown, including dairies and self-service laundry services under strict rules to limit contact.

Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Placemakers will be open for essential building and construction, but not for the general public.

What can and can’t remain open

• All non-essential businesses or services – bars, cafes, gyms, cinemas – should already be closed

• The Warehouse will close, as will liquor stores unless within a Licensing Trust Area

• Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Placemakers open for essential building and construction, but not general public

• Dairies can stay open but with strict “one in, one out” policy

• Meals on Wheels and delivery of non-pre-cooked food allowed. No food delivery such as Uber Eats

• Self-service laundry to stay open, with strict physical distancing

• Contact should be limited to a small “bubble”, and bubbles shouldn’t overlap

• Domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait services can be used until midnight Friday to get home

MBIE Deputy Chief Executive Paul Stocks said ministers met on Tuesday night to clarify what essential services will remain open during the nationwide lockdown.

“Only the businesses absolutely essential to ensure the necessities of life, like supermarkets and pharmacies, can stay open. If in doubt, the business premises should be closed.”

Dairies can remain open, as they sell basic food items like milk and bread to those who live nearby, especially for the elderly who may struggle to get to a supermarket, he said.

“However, they will need to operate a strict ‘one-in one-out’ policy and they won’t be allowed to sell food prepared on the premises.

“If any dairy breaks the rules, we will shut it down. If there is evidence of systemic abuse, we will remove them from the essential services list.”

Food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Delivery Easy are a no-go, as they “pose a risk to human health”. Only meals on wheels is exempt from this.

“We cannot guarantee every kitchen operates strict food preparation controls or that everyone who works in a kitchen is well,” Stocks said.

“Evidence overseas suggests the virus has been spread via poor food hygiene practices, so it’s a real risk we have to eliminate.

“For clarity, every restaurant, café and bar must close all aspects of their operation, including delivery.”

Working together to Unite Against Covid-19

With Nelson heading into a time of uncertainty, Mayor Rachel Reese says we must look out for one another as we prepare to unite against COVID-19.

“We are all connected in one way or another, even if we are being asked to be physically distant,” says Mayor Reese.

“Phone your older or unwell neighbours, find out if you can help them with food or other supplies. Talk to friends and whanau to see if they need support. Kindness is an incredibly powerful way for us to get through this difficult time.

“I have seen this community rally in the past and I have no doubt it will do so again. Read and heed the Ministry of Health guidelines. Please be vigilant with your health and prevention measures.”

Council is following the lead of the Ministry of Health and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board on how best to keep yourself, and the more vulnerable members of our community, safe and well.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, a temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

For the latest advice on Covid-19 visit the Government’s website.

Ratepayers who are worried about being able to pay their rates bill, can contact Council via our Customer Service Centre (03-546 0200) to work out a manageable payment plan.

Public health

Council plays a supporting role to the NMDHB who work with the Ministry of Health to plan our region’s response to Covid-19.

Community Based Assessment Centres (CBAC) are set up for Covid-19 testing throughout the region:

Nelson: The former Suburban Club building, 168 Tahunanui Drive

Motueka: Bridge club room on Tudor Street

Blenheim: Netball pavilion at the old netball court at Horton Park, Stephenson Street

Nelsonians with Coronavirus symptoms should phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or their GP, and will then be told whether they require Covid-19 testing at a CBAC. Please do not approach a CBAC directly.

Council is also taking the MoH lead on sharing health advice designed to stem the spread of the disease. The latest information regarding hand hygiene, physical distancing and self-isolation can be found at: https://covid19.govt.nz/

  • With NZ Herald