Central Government has confirmed that from Tuesday, 7 September, 11.59pm, Nelson and the rest of New Zealand outside of the Auckland boundary will move to Alert Level 2.

At Alert Level 2, COVID-19 is contained, but the risk of community transmission remains, and some restrictions on daily life will continue. 

Most Council services will resume at Alert Level 2, but there are some key changes to be aware of:

Customer Service Centre
-    Council’s Customer Service Centre is open, with physical distancing. Visitors must register for contact tracing, and there will be a maximum of six customers allowed in the centre at any one time. Cashless payment is preferred. Masks will be mandatory, in line with central Government advice for Alert Level 2.

-    Any unpaid rates accounts will have a penalty added five working days after moving to Alert Level 2. We recognise the COVID-19 lockdown has created financial pressure for some people so please contact the Customer Service Centre if you have difficulty paying or to arrange a suitable payment plan.
Contact Nelson City Council on 03) 546 0200 or email enquiry@ncc.govt.nz


Libraries 
-    Both Stoke and Elma Turner Libraries will reopen on Thursday. We will review Nightingale Library early next week. Numbers will be limited to manage the two-metre social distancing requirements, and all users must sign in and wear a mask. This slight delay in opening is to ensure staff and protocols are in place to manage mandatory contact tracing and a high volume of book returns expected to occur upon reopening. Customers are still encouraged to access our online services e.g., eBooks, audiobooks, movies, and device help without visiting the physical library building.

Classes and events, including our children’s Small Time and Story Time sessions, remain cancelled until further notice. 

-    For a full list of what is on under Level 2, please check the Nelson Public Libraries website.


Rubbish and recycling 
-    Recycling has resumed as normal.
-    The Nelson Waste Recovery Centre at Pascoe Street has reopened, but all payments must be contactless, cash will not be accepted. Contact tracing will be required for entry to any part of the site, including the recording of vehicle license plates.
-    Normal hours apply
-    The public recycling drop-off will be open. Physical distancing and masks will be required when unloading. 
-    The reuse shop will be open for customers to drop off items; and with physical distancing and sanitisation measures, will also be open for shopping.
-    Please avoid bringing extra passengers to the Nelson Waste recovery Centre.


Kitchenwaste trial
The kitchenwaste trial will resume this week. Please put out your bin on Thursday.


Public transport 
-    The Nbus timetable returns to its normal schedule at Level 2, and contactless payment using Bee Card is preferred, but cash will be accepted. Registered Bee Cards will also be used for contact tracing – so please remember to tag on and off.
-    Physical distancing does not need to be observed on board public transport services at Alert Level 2. However, passengers are still encouraged to physically distance where possible. Additional cleaning will be carried out on the buses. 
-    Passengers are required to scan the COVID-19 QR codes displayed on the bus, which are unique to each bus route.
-    A reminder that bus drivers, staff, and passengers are required to wear face coverings at all Alert Levels unless there is a medical exemption. Drivers and passengers of small passenger vehicle services such as taxis are required to wear masks. 


Other Council facilities 
-    All parks and playgrounds have reopened, including exercise equipment, skate parks and public sports facilities. It’s important to make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after use. People should not use equipment if they have cold or flu symptoms.

-    Riverside swimming pool is open from Wednesday, however contact tracing is now required on entry. A mask must be worn to gain entry to the facility. Restrictions for swimming will be in place. All customers must wear a mask at all times while in our facility.  The only exception to this is while exercising in the gym or pool and on poolside.  Once you have finished exercising and/or left poolside, masks must be put back on immediately.

-    Founders Heritage Park has reopened, along with the café. Isel House and Broadgreen House remain closed under Alert Level 2. 

-    Sports fields are also now open and limited organised sports can continue, as permitted by the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines for recreational activities.

-    Council venues, stadiums and halls are open, subject to government COVID-19 guidelines.

-    Public toilet facilities are now open, with increased cleaning being introduced.

-    Freedom camping sites have reopened. Contact tracing will be in place.

-    Campgrounds are now open to new guests, with strict and regular cleaning protocols.

-    The cemetery and crematorium are open. Please check the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines for the number of people permitted for funerals or tangi.

-    Businesses at Nelson Marina are now open, as is the Marina Hardstand. The jetties and boat ramps are also now open.

-    Trails in the Nelson and Tasman region remain open to mountain biking and walking/running.

Council work 
-    All programmed roading and three water maintenance has resumed.
-    All programmed parks maintenance has resumed.
-    All Nelson City Council capital construction projects can now continue, with workers following the Government’s Alert Level 2 risk management practices.
-    Building inspections, environmental monitoring, and public contact roles such as dog control, noise control and water meter reading and invoicing will be carried out according to the Alert Level 2 requirements. 
-    Those needing Duty Planner or Building Officer appointments to discuss resource consents or building matters are advised to book phone or zoom meetings rather than face-to-face at Civic House.
-    Physical distancing measures will mean some Council staff will continue to work from home in Alert Level 2. For those in Council workplaces, additional cleaning and hygiene practices will be implemented to ensure a safe working environment. 

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said moving to Alert Level 2 would be a relief for local businesses, especially hospitality businesses that cannot operate at AL4 and AL3. 

“We’ve had two lockdowns and a quiet Summer due to lack of international tourists. Lockdowns have proved successful in allowing us to lead normal lives for the past 18 months, but that’s still an extremely challenging situation for any business to operate in.

“Lost revenue for a café, bar or restaurant can’t be made up once restrictions ease. Two weeks of missing income stays just that. At Alert Level 2, these businesses will also be impacted by new rules only allowing fifty people inside at any one time, alongside social distancing measures.

“If you can, try to support your local businesses as they reopen. For my part, I will be asking central government to extend financial support to businesses whose revenues are still affected at Alert Level 2.”

Mayor Reese also encouraged people to keep up to date with the information provided by Council and Government as some guidance has changed since last year.

“A bit more freedom and normality are really welcome as I know people are tired and reserves have been running low. Every level change comes with change and uncertainty, so please be patient as we all adjust.

“Our vaccination teams have been working hard to protect our community, and I am encouraged to see how many people have gone to get their first and second jabs. Our rates still need to continue to climb so please make time over the next week to get vaccinated if you haven’t already by booking a slot at bookmyvaccine.co.nz.” 

The new Alert Level 2 requires people to legally wear a face covering if you are aged 12 or over when:
•    on public transport and aeroplanes, and at departure points — for example, airports, train stations and bus stops
•    in taxis or ride-share vehicles
•    visiting a healthcare or aged care facility
•    inside retail businesses — for example, supermarkets, shopping malls, indoor marketplaces, and takeaway food stores
•    visiting the public areas within courts and tribunals, local and central Government agencies, and social service providers with customer service counters.

You legally must wear a face covering if you work:
•    as a driver of a taxi or ride-share vehicle
•    at close contact business — for example, barbers, beauticians, or hairdressers
•    in a public-facing role at a hospitality venue — for example, a cafe, restaurant, bar, or nightclub
•    at retail businesses, such as supermarkets, shopping malls, indoor marketplaces, takeaway food stores
•    in the public areas of courts and tribunals, local and central Government agencies, and social service providers with customer service counters
•    at indoor public facilities — for example, libraries and museums (but not swimming pool lifeguards or swimming instructors who don't require a mask while on duty, but must wear a mask while in any other part of the building on their way to/from their shift on poolside or in the water).

As per the recent Government mandate for all Alert Levels, everyone over the age of 12 is now legally required to keep a record of where they have been when visiting busy places and events to facilitate contact tracing, should it be needed. 

These requirements apply to places such as:
-    Aged care and healthcare facilities
-    Cinemas, theatres, concerts
-    Cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
-    Indoor public facilities
-    Customers at barbers, beauticians, hairdressers, massage parlours and exercise facilities
-    Social gatherings including those at marae, weddings, funerals, tangihanga and faith-based services
-    Courts and tribunals, local and central government agencies, social services providers with customer service counters

You can keep a record of where you have been by scanning the QR code on the NZ COVID Tracer app or by manually recording the places you visit.
If manually recording your visits, it is recommended you keep track of:
-    Where you went
-    When you went there
-    Who you met

Other changes:
Hospitality and event venues have a limit of 50 people indoors. Outdoor spaces can have up to 100 people. 

Indoor facilities like gyms, libraries, and museums are now classified in the same category as retail and supermarkets - so there's a 2-metre physical distancing rule in place. 


As always, people should stay home if they are unwell or may have COVID-19. They should also not travel if they: have been requested to self-isolate/quarantine, have symptoms of COVID-19, or are awaiting COVID-19 test results. 


For more information about COVID-19 Alert Level 2 go to the COVID-19 website.