Auckland Council’s 42 pool and leisure centres will require all Aucklanders aged 12 and over to be fully vaccinated in order to use their facilities, under the Red and Orange Protection Framework levels.
As Auckland moves into the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) on 3 December, gyms, group fitness and recreation centres will once again open to those with COVID Vaccination Passes. Pools, meanwhile, will reopen on 6 December, giving extra time for them to be recommissioned and heated, and for summer lifeguards to be inducted and for staff to renew their poolside training. These new settings will apply to all council-run and council-contracted facilities, including YMCA, Community Leisure Management and Belgravia Leisure centres.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “After close to 100 days of lockdown, Aucklanders will welcome being able to return to pools and leisure centres around the region to get some exercise, enjoy sports and reconnect with friends.
“A vaccination requirement for staff and everyone using our facilities will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading and will keep our communities safe. It will also act as a strong incentive to those not yet vaccinated to get it done as soon as possible.”
Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of the council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, says as has been the case since COVID-19 emerged last year, the health and safety of our staff and customers is the council’s top priority.
“Vaccinations play a critical role in keeping Aucklanders safe from COVID-19 and is the best way of protecting our people against the virus.
“The anticipated move next week to the Government’s new COVID-19 Protection Framework means we have had to seriously consider how we reopen our pools and leisure centres safely.
“Under the Red and Orange levels of the CPF, facilities such as gyms, group fitness, cafés, swim school and events cannot open without the mandatory use of vaccines passes for all customers and staff.
“We’re pleased to be able to open these services back up to Aucklanders, who I’m sure are looking forward to getting back into their workouts, playing sports with their friends or picking up where they left off at swim school.”
General Manager Parks Sport and Recreation, Mace Ward says COVID-19 Vaccination Passes will be required throughout all pools and leisure centres, due to the complexity of these spaces.
“Once people are in our centres, regardless of whether they’re going to the gym or having a swim, we won’t be able to manage everyone’s movements between spaces that have different controls in place.
“Other COVID-19 safety measures, such as face coverings, are not possible to be used in some situations, such as swimming, and public health advice has indicated exercise as being a time of increased risk of virus transmission.
“We acknowledge that this will require our people who work in these centres to be vaccinated before a decision has been made on a vaccination policy for staff, however we are committed to working actively with anyone that this will have an impact on.
“It’s important for our customers to know that this is an interim policy that will be regularly reviewed as settings within the new framework change.”
Additional measures will be put in place at all of council’s pool and leisure sites to ensure vaccination passes are presented upon entry. Where pools and leisure centres are co-located with other services, such as libraries, these spaces will be kept separate with dividers and alternative entry and exit from the building where required.
Information around the operation of Auckland Council’s other facilities under the CPF will be available soon.