COVID-19 FAQs

We've put together some common questions we receive from our community about COVID-19 and the corresponding answers.

If you can't find the answer you're looking for please visit covid19.govt.nz, phone (06) 366 0999 or email enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz

Rubbish and Recycling

Is the kerbside rubbish collection service operating during Alert Level 2?

Yes, this service is continuing as normal. 

Is the kerbside recycling collection service operating during Alert Level 2?

Kerbside recycling collection services have continue, following the normal schedule. To find out when your next collection date is please visit our Check my rubbish and recycling collection date page

Are waste transfer and recycling stations open during Alert Level 2?

Transfer stations are open to the public. Restrictions apply to ensure safe practice (ie no more than two vehicles in at a time, no cash payment available). Car registration numbers will be recorded for contact tracing purposes.

Recycling stations in Levin, Foxton and Shannon, and mobile community recycling stations, will be open.

Rates and charges

What should I do if I can’t pay my rates?

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and has already significantly impacted our community.

As a council we are continuing to provide essential services to our community such as water, waste water, rubbish collection, our cemeteries and emergency management. Additionally, we will continue to deliver business continuity in our other activities where we can.

Rates pay for those services which are essential and ensure council can still deliver as many activities as possible, despite the circumstance.

We are conscious of the impact the current environment has had on many families, including their ability to pay rates. We are largely governed by legislation in this matter however we are considering what options are available to us.

Our next rates invoice will be due in September. If you are experiencing hardship we will consider payment options on a case by case basis. If you believe this is you, please contact Council by emailing rates@horowhenua.govt.nz, or calling 06 366 0999 as soon as possible so we can implement measures. 

What is a Rates Rebate and how do I apply for one?

A rates rebate is a reimbursement of your rates. To be eligible, you must be:

  • Named as a ratepayer for that property, and;
  • Living at that property on 1 July 2019.

If you are receiving NZ Superannuation, WINZ benefits or your combined income is within a certain threshold you may be entitled to a rebate of up to $655.

You can find out how to apply on our Rates Rebates page, or call us on 06 366 0999.

I’m facing hardship but am not eligible for a Rates Rebate, what other support is available?

The Accommodation Scheme assists those with accommodation costs, including homeowners seeking help with their rates. Homeowners must occupy the house that they are paying accommodation costs for as their own home and payments will depend on a person’s financial position, accommodation costs, family circumstances and where they live.

You can apply for the Accommodation Scheme through Work and Income’s website or by phone on 0800 559 003. 

Parks and facilities

Will Council’s main office be open in Alert Level 2?

Council’s main office is open normal hours, 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

Restrictions will apply to ensure safe practice:

  • Customer details will be recorded for contact tracing
  • A time limit of two hours per visit applies
  • Social distancing will be maintained onsite
  • Toilets will be closed to the public
  • Please use sanitising stations provided, maintain physical distancing, and do not enter if you feel unwell.

If possible, please contact us by phone on 06 366 0999 or email at enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz in the first instance to help maintain physical distancing on site. We also have lots of services and information here on our website.

Our main Call Centre hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am to 5pm, and 9:30am to 5pm on Wednesdays. All phone calls outside these hours will be answered by our Afterhours service.

Are libraries and community centres open at Alert Level 2?

Libraries remain open.

Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō will be open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Youth Space will be closed to the public.
The Library Café at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō will remain open at Alert Level 2. Table service only.

Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom will be open from 10am to 4pm daily. 

Shannon Library will be open from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday, and closed Saturday and Sunday.

Restrictions will apply to ensure safe practice:

  • Maximum of 100 people at one time to maintain safe physical distancing
  • Some programmes and resources may not be available
  • Customer details will be recorded for contact tracing.

Are swimming pools open at Alert Level 2?

Levin Aquatic Centre remains open, with normal operating hours: 6am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday, 8am to 5:30pm Sunday.  

Restrictions will apply to ensure safe practice:

  • Customer details will be recorded for contact tracing
  • Maximum of 100 people at one time to maintain safe physical distancing
  • A session-based programme will operate with limited times for lane swimming and aqua-jogging.

Streamline Swim School and most fitness classes will continue, with restrictions in place for safe practice. 

For more information, please visit our Aquatics Horowhenua website.

Foxton Heated Pools will remain closed for winter until September.

Can I go to the beach or park?

Yes, you can go to the beach or park. Keep 2 metres away from other people or groups.

There is no cap on total numbers of people at a beach or park, but if it is crowded, go home. This is because it’s difficult to keep your distance, and there is no reliable way to trace everyone if illness occurs. 

Are public toilets open?

Public toilets are open at Alert Level 2, with increased cleaning services at high-use facilities.

Can I take my children to the playground?

Playgrounds are open at Alert Level 2. Please observe two metre physical distancing and hygiene precautions.

Can I exercise my dog at Kowhai Park?

Our parks are still open, including Kowhai Park. However, we recommend walking your dog on a leash. 

Compliance

How can I report a breach of Alert Level 2 restrictions?

If you have concerns about a lockdown breach, you can report it to Police online at 105.police.govt.nz.

Will Council continue to respond to noise control and animal control complaints?

Yes, Please contact us on 06 366 0999 or enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz if you wish to report an issue.

Understanding Alert Level 2

What does Alert Level 2 mean?

For information about New Zealand’s four-level COVID-19 alert system and what the current alert level means for you, please visit the COVID-19 website

Do I need to wear a mask?

At Alert Level 2 the risk of COVID-19 being present in the community is higher. You should wear face coverings in situations where physical distancing is not possible, like on public transport or in shops.

For more information about face coverings, visit the COVID-19 website

 

What is contact tracing?

Health services use contact tracing to find people who may have been exposed to an infectious disease – that is, anybody who may have come into contact with a person carrying the infectious disease is traced and, potentially, tested to see if they also have the disease.

To stop any future spread of COVID-19, we need to trace the contacts of anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and break the chain of transmission. Recording people’s movement helps us to do this quickly and efficiently.

Use the NZ COVID Tracer app to keep track of your movements if you can, otherwise use whatever method works for you. You should keep track of:

  • Where you went
  • When you went there
  • Who you met.

You can download the NZ COVID Tracer app from the Google Play or your Apple App Store.

Businesses are required to keep a record of customers that come on to their premises to enable contact tracing to be carried out easily, if required. Business must display a NZ COVID Tracer QR code for each business location in a prominent place or near main entrances.

For more information about QR codes for your business, visit the Get your QR code poster page on the COVID-19 website.

For more information about contact tracing, including privacy, visit the Keep track of where you've been page on the COVID-19 website.

What are the rules about gatherings?

At Alert Level 2 gatherings can be held with up to 100 people in a defined space, but there are some conditions.

For more information about gatherings and events, including special events such as funerals, visit the Gatherings and events at alert level 2 page on the COVID-19 website.  

Can I attend religious services?

Religious buildings can open at Alert Level 2. Gatherings must:

  • Have no more than 100 people in each defined space excluding staff, e.g. clergy
  • Keep high hygiene standards
  • Keep attendees who do not know each other one metre apart
  • Record attendees to ensure contact tracing can be done if necessary.

When do I need to self-isolate or stay home?

Self-isolation means staying at home and taking common sense precautions to avoid close contact with those you live with.

If you have COVID-19, or if you’re feeling unwell, it’s critical you stay at home and recover. If you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, you should also self-isolate as a precaution. 

If you have been told you need to self-isolate, you must do so immediately. 

If you are in self-isolation, follow these precautions: 

  • Avoid sharing a bed with others if possible.
  • Minimise the time you spend in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms.
  • Clean surfaces with disinfectant after you use them. Try to avoid touching them after you have cleaned them.
  • While you’re unwell, do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends, family and whānau, to enter your home. It’s okay for friends, family, whānau or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies. Ask them to leave items at the door.

Can I play sports at Alert Level 2?

At Alert Level 2 you can do your usual sport and recreation activities if you can do so safely. When exercising in public, keep a 2 metre distance from people you don’t know if possible.

Community sports are limited to groups of 100 people in a defined space. A sports field can have multiple defined spaces by keeping:

  • People in groups of up to 100
  • Groups separate either through consistent 2 metre physical distancing when outdoors or by using barriers.

Professional leagues can go ahead because they take place in controlled workplaces.

For more information about sports and recreation at Alert Level 2, visit the Exercising safely page on the COVID-19 website.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you have cold or flu symptoms, call your doctor, iwi health provider, or Healthline on 0800 358 5453, to check if you need to get tested for COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature of at least 38 degrees Celsius
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell.

Can I send my kids to school?

At Alert Level 2, all children and young people can go to school or Early Learning Services. The only exceptions are children or young people who are sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms, are in isolation, or are awaiting for the result of a test.

For more information about education at Alert Level 2, please visit the Minstry of Education COVID-19 page.

Business

Can I open my business premises?

Yes, at Alert Level 2 all business premises can open and customers can enter. Follow these golden rules to operate safely:

  1. Reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work.
  2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.
  3. Talk with your staff to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  5. Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses.
  6. Keep contact tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction e.g. staff, contractors or customers. Retail businesses are not required to keep contact tracing records.
  7. All businesses must display a government issued QR code for use with the NZ COVID Tracer App by 19 August
  8. Face coverings are strongly encouraged if you are in close contact with others.
  9. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  10. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

A Business Toolkit including posters, signs and contact tracing registers is available on the Business Toolkit page on the COVID-19 website.

For more information about what Alert Level 2 means for your business, please visit the doing business at alert level 2 page on the COVID-19 website or the Alert level 2 what's worksafe approach page on Business.govt.nz

There is a free helpline to provide all New Zealand businesses with advice and to connect them with additional support. To find out more call 0800 500 362.

Where can I get help if my business has been significantly impacted by COVID-19?

Wage subsidy support for businesses to cover those affected by the latest Level 3 and Level 2 restrictions has been extended. The COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy applies nationally to any business with a 40% decline in revenue for any consecutive period of at least 14 days within 12 August 2020 and 14 September 2020. It opens for applications on 21 August 2020.

You can find out more about the COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy process on the Work and Income website.

The new scheme is in addition to the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension for business still significantly affected by the business downturn. It has been extended to allow for applications until 1 September.

You can find out more about the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension on the Work and Income website. 

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme provides a payment to businesses to help pay workers if they need to stay away from work and cannot work from home due to COVID-19 public health guidance.

You can find out more about the Leave Support Scheme on the Work and Income website.

For more information about financial support options available for businesses, visit the Financial support for businesses page on the COVID-19 website.

Key contacts

Websites

Phone numbers

All of Government contact line

If you need welfare assistance with goods and services such as food, water, clothes and bedding, please contact 06 366 0999. Welfare assistance is for people who are unable to make arrangements through their own support networks.

Healthline

Only refer people to this for specific queries about their health.

0800 358 5453

Mental health - 'Need to talk?' call 1737. Talk with a qualified counsellor free, 24/7

Welfare

If you need welfare assistance with goods and services such as food, water, clothes and bedding, please contact 0800 725 678 between 9am-5pm, any day of the week. This number is for people who are unable to make arrangements through their own support networks.

Essential services

For advice and support for essential businesses please contact 0800 22 66 57 (8am-8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday) or email essential@mbie.govt.nz.

Queries about transport should be directed to the Ministry of Transport. Phone 04 439 9000 or email essentialtravel@transport.govt.nz.

Reporting breaches