Media release: SDC initiates pandemic plan

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Southland District Council has initiated its pandemic plan as the region prepares to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Following a meeting of SDC’s executive leadership team (ELT) yesterday, the plan’s status was escalated to orange alert.

“This means the team is working through a series of protocols in order to protect staff and ensure we can provide critical services to our communities,” chief executive Steve Ruru said.

“Our group managers are now working through a priority services matrix to identify critical resourcing and how we best manage the continuity of our services.

“This will include consideration as to how we might best manage the delivery of these services if we needed to move to the red alert level.”

The ELT will meet again tomorrow to discuss the next steps for staff and for Council.

“We are anticipating more protocols and changes to business practices will come as a result,” Mr Ruru said.

“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.

“Naturally this pandemic may cause people to feel vulnerable and afraid and we are encouraging our staff to talk to their manager or utilise the support services we have available for them.”

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Southland District Libraries has suspended all programmes for the foreseeable future.

“We are being proactive in our approach to the Convid-19 pandemic and wish to support social distancing. The safety of our staff and community is paramount,” district library manager Mark Fraser said.

Community facilities manager Mark Day said Council-owned facilities remained open at this stage.

“This will potentially change if our alert level escalates or our contractors are no longer able to maintain levels of service,” he said.

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 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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