Unvaccinated people barred from Auckland Council facilities and offices

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Nov 2021, 9:14PM
(Photo / Getty Images)
(Photo / Getty Images)

Unvaccinated people barred from Auckland Council facilities and offices

Author
Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 30 Nov 2021, 9:14PM

Unvaccinated people will be barred from Auckland Council staffed services and facilities when the city transitions to the traffic light system this Friday. 

The council confirmed that vaccination passes will be a requirement for people to enter facilities and council offices when they reopen until at least January 17 next year. 

Mayor Phil Goff said the decision will help keep the council's staff and customers safe and has his support. 

"We have a responsibility to do all we can to reduce the possibility of transmission within our facilities and keep our staff and customers as safe as possible," he said. 

He said research has shown the risk of infection between two unvaccinated people is 20-fold higher than between two vaccinated people. 

Those without vaccination passes will still be able to access council services, but these would be delivered "in a different way". 

"For example, we are currently planning for outdoor service provision wherever possible at our libraries, and will continue to provide our highly popular Wi-Fi, digital and click-and-collect services," he added. 

Councillor Alf Filipaina, chairman of the council's Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, said restricting physical access to council services is not a decision that had been taken lightly. 

"Vaccinations play a critical role in keeping Aucklanders safe.. .and is the best way of protecting our people against the virus," he said. 

"Making this decision has been extremely difficult. We know Aucklanders love their libraries, art galleries, community centres, visitor centres and more, and we want as many people as possible to make the most of and enjoy our region." 

Council will also be barring all its staff from its offices and facilities until they were fully vaccinated. 

Chief executive Jim Stabback said the decision came after a two-week consultation where it heard from more than half of its workforce. 

"Vaccinations continue to play a critical role in keeping us all safe from Covid-19 and are the most effective way of protecting our people, and those who work closely with us," he said. 

In the consultation 83 per cent of council staff agreed with the proposal, 14 per cent disagreed and a further 3 per cent neither agreed or disagreed or didn't know. 

"This policy has health and safety at its core," Stabback said. 

"As we look ahead to the Government's new Covid-19 Protection Framework coming into effect from Friday, when many of our services and facilities are able to reopen, it's important we provide our people and customers with certainty on our position and the role we're playing to keep people safe."