Covid-19 vaccine passes will be required for entry to some Council facilities. The decision comes as the Whakatāne District moves to the ‘red light setting’ of the Government’s traffic light system this week.
This decision was agreed today (Thursday, 2 December) and adopted at an Emergency Council meeting. The meeting followed a Risk and Assurance Committee meeting where a report on Council’s implementation of the traffic light system was discussed at length. The report recommended that Council mandate vaccine certificates for entry to all Council facilities excluding parks, reserves, playgrounds, cemeteries, Murupara outdoor pool, and public toilets that are not inside a Council facility.
Whakatāne District Mayor Judy Turner says it was not a decision made lightly. “The safety of people in our communities is absolutely paramount,” she says. “We have very clear evidence of the benefits that come with being vaccinated and we must do what we can to ensure we keep people in our communities protected; particularly our vulnerable.”
Council noted that its decision has been made based on the current situation and would be reviewed in response to any Government direction and as the district’s vaccination rates changed.
Mayor Turner noted the robust discussion had by elected members which centred around the need to keep people safe, weighted against equitable access to public facilities and services. “We have a considerable responsibility as the providers of the services and facilities where all people in our District can come together and interact with one another.
“Our responsibilities are also to our Council staff who need a safe environment to work, and to our District Health Board and local health providers who are relying on us to make decisions that will help keep our hospitals and health services available for those who need them most.”
Mayor Turner concludes by noting that the District’s current vaccination rates sit at approximately 70.6% fully (double) vaccinated, an additional 10.4% with first vaccination only, and 19% with no vaccination. “We trust that this decision today will encourage more people to make a choice to get vaccinated; a choice that will keep them and their whānau as safe as possible.”
An implementation date for when vaccine passes are required will be communicated once Council’s Covid-19 implementation plan has been finalised.
Council’s facilities and services will be operating within the Covid-19 protection framework (traffic light system) from 11:59pm tonight (2 December) under the red setting requirements until the implementation date has been set.
Detailed information on Council’s services and facilities will be made available on whakatane.govt.nz.