Find out more about Covid-19 and how it affects Nelson.

What is COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

COVID-19 is a new virus that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect you, your family and whānau. 
Everything you need to know about COVID-19 is available on the covid19.govt.nz website.

What Alert Level is New Zealand at, and what does this mean?
New Zealand has a four-level COVID-19 alert system that specifies public health and social measures to be taken against COVID-19.

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4: Eliminate - Likely that disease is not contained. This will stay in effect for at least the next four weeks.

• People are instructed to stay at home
• Businesses are closed except for essential services 
• Services that will remain open are: supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies, service stations, access to essential banking services. A full list of essential services can be found here. 
• Takeaway food services are closed
• Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
• Major reprioritisation of healthcare services
• All indoor and outdoor events are cancelled.
• Schools are closed. The upcoming school term break will be brought forward to start on Monday, 30 March. For the remainder of this week and through the term break, schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely.
• Public transport will only be available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons, and to move essential goods – including ferry services between the North and South Island
• Air travel only applying to the transport of people undertaking essential services and the transport of freight.

Stay Home, Save Lives: The New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has warned there will be consequences for anyone caught flouting the shutdown rules.
Expect to see police if you are out and about and to be questioned about where you are going, particularly if you are driving.

Travel: Air New Zealand will continue to operate while we are on Alert Level 4. The Government has extended the timeframe for all travellers to get home to 11.59pm on Friday 27 March.
For travel after 27 March, you will need to check that you qualify to travel under the essential services list before you book your ticket or head to the airport.
It is already a requirement for all people entering New Zealand to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival; however, every passenger entering New Zealand will now be screened on arrival, to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

What is Nelson City Council doing in response to COVID-19?

• A COVID-19 Incident Management Team has been established. It is made up of members of Council’s senior leadership team and other key staff and meets twice a day. This will help us make structured decisions, quickly.
• Nelson City Council has set up a hotline for people with urgent welfare needs. If someone has an urgent need for food or essential supplies, they can call Council on 03 546 0200. The service is for those who do not have friends, family or neighbours who can provide assistance. See this Our Nelson story for more information
• As of March 23, Council has closed all of its indoor community facilities. This includes our three libraries and all our community centres, swimming pools and venues including Saxton Pavilion and Oval, Trafalgar Centre, Greenmeadows, Broadgreen House and Isel House.
• The Customer Service Centre at Civic House is closed. Staff will be working remotely and only accepting calls and emails.
• Council’s community playgrounds and exercising equipment are closed. While we know there is a need for the community to get fresh air and exercise, keeping the equipment sanitised is not possible and the risk of passing on the virus is too high.
• At this stage most of Council’s public toilets remain open but the public is being advised to only to only use these in an emergency. If it becomes difficult for our staff to keep the toilets cleaned to a sufficiently high standard, or if there is any risk to cleaning staff, public toilets will close.
• 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.
• To help local contractors, Council is making weekly invoice payments for contractors completing essential services. There are plans in place to ensure payment for work completed, even in the event of a serious outbreak in our region.

Council’s Essential Services:
• Contingency plans are in place for all Council’s essential services. 
• Water treatment plant: Staff have been socially distancing and avoiding large gatherings. Chemicals have been stockpiled to ensure there is a supply.
• Teams have been split into two facilities to reduce the risk of them all getting sick at the same time.
• Refuse services: Staff are working with local companies to ensure collection continues. The public are asked not to overfill bags and not to put their refuse or recycling kerbside until collection day. Tissues and medical waste should be put in a separate bag before going in the main bag or refuse bin.
• Kerbside recycling collection will continue, but some collected materials, paper, cardboard, plastic and tins, for instance, will go to landfill during the shutdown. This is because the Government has ordered sorting facilities that are not automated to close. Nelsonians have the option of storing recycling until normal service resumes if they choose.
• Glass will still continue to be collected and dispatched for recycling in Auckland.
• All five Tasman District Resource Recovery Centres and the Pascoe Street transfer station are closed.

Public Transport: 
All public transport services contracted to Council are fare-free. This ensures free public transport for workers in essential services, and to the general public requiring access to essential services. This will remain active until June 30, but will be reviewed before that if alert levels drop to 1 or 2. Nelson’s buses are operating on a reduced timetable and travel is restricted to essential workers and people accessing essential services. For more detail read this Our Nelson article.

Nelson’s reserves and outdoor exercise – what can I do?
You can walk or run around your neighbourhood, or your local reserve, but always keep a 2-metre distance from other people (not in your household) at all times.
Nelson’s Tahunanui Beach Reserve, Saxton Fields and Branford Park are closed to vehicle access from Thursday 26 March as part of the Government’s advice to stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
All Nelson and Tasman's trails are closed to mountain bikers. There may not be signage up on all the trails to indicate this, but they should be treated as closed. See this Our Nelson story for more information
This decision was made following Government advice for people to stay home and not take part in activities that could result in an emergency services callout or personal injury requiring hospitalisation, stretching their resources even further.
If reserves are not used sensibly, Council will close them.

Do not:
• Meet others for the activity
• Stop to talk to others
• Stop for food/water/supplies
• Do not ask anyone outside your household (those you’re isolating with) to pick you up, meet you, or help you in any way
Make sure you:
• Tell someone in your household where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone for
• Take a cell phone with you so you can be contacted or contact others if you need to
• Thoroughly wash your hands on returning home

Nelson Marina
Nelson Marina is closed to all customers until further notice, except:
• Businesses providing essential services as defined by the Government
• Emergency services
• Existing, known and approved live-aboard tenants in Nelson Marina
Recreational boating is not allowed during the shutdown period and visits to the marina are not recommended. If there is an issue with your vessel which requires monitoring, email marina staff at marina@nelmac.co.nz.

Where in Nelson can I get tested?
Community Based Assessment Centres (CBAC) have been set up for Covid-19 testing throughout the region. 
There are testing centres at: 
• Nelson: The former Suburban Club building, 168 Tahunanui Drive
• Motueka: Bridge club room on Tudor 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.

How do I protect myself and others from COVID-19?
You should always practice good hygiene by:
• Covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
• Washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap, and drying them thoroughly
• Before eating or handling food, after using the toilet, after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses and after caring for sick people
• People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice good cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues, and wash hands). If you have concerns, you can contact the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453. 
Is the Alert System and response over the top?
No. The vast majority of people who will have COVID-19 will only experience mild to moderate symptoms. But there will be some who need more care and medical treatment.
That’s why we have to focus on one simple goal – to unite against COVID-19 and allow our health system to support those who need it.
Global examples have shown serious action needs to be taken quickly to stop widespread cases.

Can I go out to go to the supermarket? 
Yes. Essential services including supermarkets continue to operate during the lockdown.
We absolutely urge you to not stock up on goods or produce. The border closures apply to people, not products. 
By allowing supermarket workers the time to restock, they will have plenty of supplies to go around. Shopping as normal will allow supermarkets to manage supply and demand. 

What can I do to get through?
Make sure you have your ability to work from home set up and you understand the process and policies from your workplace to allow you to do this. 
Organise any medication repeats and check in on elderly relatives or vulnerable people over the phone, to make sure they have everything they need. 
Ensure you are connecting with others by non-physical means to ensure you maintain connections and mental wellbeing, such as via Facebook messenger, Skype, or by just picking up the phone. 

What should I do if I am at risk, immune-compromised or have someone at risk in my household?
You are at high-risk if you are over 70, have a compromised immune system or have underlying health conditions.
People with underlying medical conditions include a compromised immune system, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, pregnant women or on immunosuppressant medications.
You need to take more precautions to protect yourself against all infections, including COVID-19.

I’m feeling stressed, who can I talk to?
If over the following days and weeks you feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help and professional support. Your family doctor is a good starting point. 
For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can also call or text 1737 Need to talk? This service is free, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor.

Other important phone numbers include:
• The free Government helpline 0800 779 997 or on 0800 22 66 57 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).
• Healthline 0800 358 5453
• Call your local GP
• Call 111 in an emergency
• If you want more information about the COVID-19 response go to Covid19.govt.nz

Can I go to school or work?
No. All non-essential businesses are closed. All schools are closed.
Everyone should stay at home, unless their work is classed as an essential service. See the full list of essential services here.
The upcoming school term break will start on Monday, 30 March. For the remainder of this week and through the term break, schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely.

I am an essential worker, can I still access childcare?
Where possible, essential workers need to make their own arrangements for childcare, due to limited capacity.
This will not be possible for everyone. Alternative arrangements have been made so essential workers can access childcare and continue to work. See more information on the Government's Covid-19 website.