As the local MP for Selwyn, Anzac Day is normally a very busy day for me attending local commemorative services. Sadly but unavoidably these services will not be able to be held this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although some online services are being planned. Meanwhile, the RSA has suggested that New Zealanders may like to mark the day by standing at their gates at 6am to honour those who have served our country, including those who lost their lives, those who were injured and those who returned after enduring the unimaginable. This is a good opportunity for us to show our solidarity, while respecting the current requirements for physical distancing.
Change of Alert Levels
The Government has announced that New Zealand will stay at Alert Level 4 until 11.59pm on Monday 27th April, when we will transition to Alert Level 3.
This means that on Tuesday 28th April many businesses in sectors such as construction will be able to resume operation, albeit with new ways of working to ensure physical distancing is maintained, surfaces and tools are disinfected regularly and records are kept of people’s movements to facilitate contact tracing.
Retail businesses and cafes and restaurants will only be able to open if they can take orders online or over the phone and can deliver these in a contactless way. Businesses which provide services involving close personal contact such as hairdressing, personal training and beauty therapy will not be able to re-open during Alert Level 3 other than to sell products remotely.
The Government has indicated that prior to the change to Alert Level 3, businesses are allowed to make preparations to get ready to re-open, including re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary.
Schools at Alert Level 3
The message from the Government is that people that can work from home should continue to do so and that students should continue to learn from home wherever possible. Schools will re-open from 29th April to supervise those children up to Year 10 level who are not able to remain at home because parents need to go back to work.
This poses challenges for schools as they will need to continue delivering their online learning programme while having some staff on site to supervise those children whose parents need to send them. Schools will be getting in contact with parents over the next few days so they can establish how many students will need supervision during Alert Level 3.
For many people, Alert Level 3 will be much the same as Alert Level 4. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials, then the advice is to remain at home. The Government has indicated that if you need to, you can expand your bubble a small amount to bring in close family, isolated people or caregivers. Good hygiene practices will continue to remain important.
Health Information and advice
The most up-to-date health information on Covid-19 is available on the Ministry of Health's website www.health.govt.nz. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or have other urgent health needs, call Healthline free on 0800 358 5453.
More general information about New Zealand’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus and responses to the social and economic impacts of the virus can be found at www.covid19.govt.nz.
Business and Employment Support
The Government has released a package of financial support for businesses and employees, contractors and the self-employed. For information on the support that may be available to you and to apply for support, visit www.workandincome.govt.nz.
If you are concerned that you “fall between the gaps” or are having difficulty accessing support, please contact me.
Electorate boundary changes
While the scheduled general election in September is currently not at the front of most people's minds, the proposed changes to electorate boundaries were recently confirmed. For the Selwyn electorate, this means that Rakaia and the surrounding areas will return to the Rangitata electorate. Meanwhile Banks Peninsula including Akaroa, Little River, Governor's Bay and Diamond Harbour will be included with parts of the current Port Hills electorate in a new electorate called Banks Peninsula.
As your local MP for Selwyn I am here to help and support you. While my staff and I are confined to our homes like everyone else, we remain available to you by phone or email as usual so please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can assist in any way or if you are aware of anyone who is struggling and needs help or advice.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback on all matters so be sure to contact me at a <mailto:[email protected]>[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> or like my Facebook page www.facebook.com/MPAmyAdams <[link removed]> and tell me what's on your mind.