Media release: SDC closes area offices, libraries and halls

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Southland District Council is closing all its area offices, libraries and halls today.

This decision follows today’s announcement by the Prime Minister and the increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 52, including two that were suspected of having been community transmitted.

Southland District Mayor Gary Tong said Council needs to protect its communities and its staff and so this was really the only decision it could make.

“We fully support the Prime Minister’s statement: ‘This is about saving lives. We must fight by going hard and go early’.”

“We know that our libraries are important to our communities and we are looking at how we can share books but we need to do this safely especially for our elderly customers,” Mr Tong said.

“Staff are still working but it will be different. They already have non-customer facing work to do, but we will be looking at what else we can do and there are high-priority areas they will be deployed to.”

“Please do not panic if your books are due tomorrow – there will be no overdue fines.”

The bookbus will not be in operation but may be used to deliver books at a later date.

All Council-owned halls are to be closed and staff are working through this with custodians and hall committees.

Customers with queries need to ring 0800 732 732 or go online.

Mr Tong urged Southland residents to follow the clear guidelines set out by the Prime Minister today and to go to trusted sources for information.

“Don’t believe gossip and pub talk please – if you are over 70 or have illnesses, please stay at home. Practise physical distancing and wash your hands.

“Please look after each other, don’t panic and take care of yourselves and others. Southland communities always step up in times of need and this will be no different,” Mr Tong said.

At this stage, Council’s main office in Invercargill remains open, but protocols will be stepped up to protect staff and customers.

“We will be continually talking about future developments so decisions will be made quickly.”

“We are keeping a close eye on the Ministry of Health guidelines and news releases from central government to inform the decisions that we are making.”

 

All four Southland councils are focused on looking after our staff and our communities every day. We encourage anyone who is feeling unwell, worried or scared about COVID-19 to visit the Government’s Government’s COVID-19 dedicated website (external link) - it will answer many of your questions and give you phone numbers to ring for further information.

To find out what all our councils are doing locally, please check our websites and social media – we are working hard to have information relating to our services on these sites and will be updating them regularly.

We encourage you to take care of yourselves and your families, and be kind to others. Check in on elderly neighbours and offer support if you can. If you are not feeling well, stay home. Practise good hygiene by washing your hands frequently.

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