On Wednesday, Aucklanders woke up to a few more freedoms as the region shifted to Alert Level 3, Step 2.
Under the new rules, retail can reopen with health measures such as physical distancing and mask wearing in place, as can some of our public facilities including libraries and museums.
However, Councillor Alf Filipaina, chair of the parks, arts, community and events committee, wants to remind Aucklanders that some of the council’s facilities are taking a phased approach to reopening.
“We know that Aucklanders will be looking forward to their first weekend at Alert Level 3, step 2 and the extra freedoms that come with it, but I am urging them to do so safely and to keep following the rules.
“While we are excited that we can start welcoming people back to our facilities, we do have to balance that with keeping our people and our customers safe, which is why some aren’t yet open, and others have restrictions in place. Please check before you head out to avoid disappointment.
“Aucklanders have done the hard yards over the past few months and the finish line is in sight. Together we will get there, one step at a time.”
Auckland Council Libraries has been offering a contactless click and collect service since the beginning of November and Aucklanders have embraced the offering.
Initially offered across 18 sites, the service was expanded to all 56 libraries across the whole region when Auckland moved to Alert Level 3, Step 2.
Mirla Edmundson, Auckland Council’s General Manager for Connected Communities says that the demand on libraries has been phenomenal.
“We knew how much Aucklanders love libraries but we have been utterly amazed at the response. We have had over 57,000 items checked out, over 153,000 items returned and an additional 100,606 items placed on hold.”
“One customer said to me that our libraries help provide a window into the world and the way the click and collect service has gone so far shows this is the case for many Aucklanders.”
From lifeguard to librarian
To help keep pace with the demand and to help clear the 3-month backlog of work, 16 staff from Auckland Council’s Active Recreation facilities are pitching in to help their libraries colleagues.
“It is really great to have the Active Rec staff helping out,” says Mirla.
“With most schools not yet re-opened, a number of our staff have been unable to return to library sites. This has been a challenge for us particularly in our South Auckland libraries, so to have the help from our active rec colleagues has been amazing.
“Getting through the amount of returned library items quickly in particular wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
The click and collect service will continue to operate Monday – Saturday, 10am–4pm across the 56 library locations for now, but some in-library services will resume soon.
“Now that the government has announced that in-school education for Years 10 and under can re-start, we are working with our staff to ensure we continue to support them, and continue to deliver a great service to Aucklanders.”
In addition, the mobile library service, house-bound service and rural library service will return from Monday 15 November, providing disabled, older and more isolated communities the opportunity to enjoy having a physical book to read.
Click and collect process:
Alternatively, if you do not have the ability to request an item online, please feel free to call 09 377 0209 and one of the helpful staff will take you through the process.
Wi-fi will be available at all sites between 10am-4pm, Monday-Saturday.
Sailings to some of our favourite islands in the Hauraki Gulf resume this weekend, but Waiheke and Aotea Great Barrier are still off-limits to non-residents.
For those heading out on their boats, it’s important to remember that the Auckland boundary still applies. Aucklanders are not permitted to travel outside of Auckland waters. Maritime Police will be patrolling and can take enforcement action if necessary.
For more information about Alert Level, Step 2 visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website.