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Source: Auckland Council

Aucklanders are set to be reunited with their beloved libraries from next Wednesday when 31 libraries throughout the region are reopened under Alert Level 2.

Auckland Council has taken a phased approach to the reopening of its network of more than 400 community facilities, including its 55 libraries, to ensure they can meet the strict COVID-19 health and safety requirements and continue to support Auckland’s welfare recovery efforts.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “Nearly a quarter of a million Aucklanders use our libraries in a normal week, and their reopening will be warmly welcomed after the constraints of lockdown.

“Libraries and fitness centres will open progressively from next week with special measures in place as a safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.

“Please follow all the guidelines around contact tracing and hygiene while using council facilities – the last thing we want is another outbreak.”

Pools stay shut for now to help water conservation efforts

Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town says that most council facilities will be open next week or shortly after. However, a staged approach to Alert Level 2 means that some may take a little longer to open.

In particular, Auckland Council has decided that, due to Auckland’s drought, and water restrictions coming into force on Saturday, it will not open council-owned and operated swimming pools for now.

“We know this will disappoint keen swimmers, however we play an important role in Auckland’s efforts to conserve water and want to lead by example. The good news is that swimmers will still be able to visit one of our partner-led facilities, which will reopen.”

Mr Town says while pools won’t open for a little while longer, most fitness centres will open next Thursday, as will the council’s early childhood education centres and after school programmes, which open on Monday.

“Getting all of these fantastic facilities back up and running is a big job and I’m proud of our staff who have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to prepare them for reopening and make sure they are safe spaces for people to enjoy once again.

“Many of our staff have also been supporting the welfare efforts being led out of Auckland Emergency Management, and that work will continue alongside the reopening of our services.

“As this will likely require the ongoing support of our teams, we ask Aucklanders to be patient and kind as we all work to new guidelines that have been created with the safety of our customers top of mind,” says Mr Town.

“This will include limits to the number of people allowed in our facilities at any one time and a QR code contactless check-in process for anyone who wants to enter any of our buildings. We’ll have staff members available to help our customers through the check-in process if they don’t have a mobile phone or the technology to complete the online form themselves.”

Community venues reopen in phases

Next week will also see the doors to 21 council-run community venues open again in the first phase of the reopening of the council’s arts, community and event venues over the coming months.

Additionally, nine of these venues will be available for hire from Monday, 18 May, and venues operated by our community partners, including venues for hire, community centres and arts venues, began reopening today.

Auckland Council is continuing to work through how regional and local events can be supported under Alert Level 2. In line with the government’s guidelines, events and activities on public open space or council-owned land will only be permitted for gatherings of no more than 10 people.

Gates at Auckland Council cemeteries opened today, and cemetery offices will be open to the public from tomorrow, 15 May. In line with revised guidelines from the government, 50 people will be allowed to go to a funeral home and attend a chapel service or burial.

A full list of all council facilities opening next week is available here.