21 March 2020
COVID-19 Forces Council to Close Facilities
The Gore District Council has this afternoon decided to close the Gore and Mataura libraries, and Gore Multisports Complex at the end of business today.
The 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 being community transmitted.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said it was a difficult decision to close the District’s libraries and multisports complex until further notice, but the only option for the sake of the community.
“The message from the Prime Minister and health officials is quite clear – to slow down the spread of COVID-19 we need to restrict our movements and interactions with each other.”
Both the library and multisport complex were considered risk areas due to the high number of users and that they were popular venues with the elderly.
“The Gore District has a disproportionately high number of elderly residents, a demographic that is most at risk from the virus.”
Mr Hicks appealed for residents to follow the clear guidelines set out today and to go to trusted sources for information, such as the COVID19.govt.nz website.
“We need to be calm, be kind and be prepared.
“There will be a lot of questions from customers and staff around exactly what the closures mean.”
More information will be sent out on Monday after a meeting of senior staff, Mr Hicks said.
At this stage the Council’s main office and the Gore Visitor Centre will remain open, although protocols will be stepped up to protect staff and customers.
The Council will be considering alternative ways for council staff to work, such as remotely.
Invercargill City Council has also decided to close Splash Palace and its libraries at the end of business today. It is understood Southland District Council will make a decision about its area offices and libraries this afternoon.
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 dedicated COVID-19 website - 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.