Horizons Regional Council essential services at Level 2

Following the region’s move to Alert Level 2, Horizons Regional Council services are largely returning to normal, with some changes to office hours and additional safety measures in place.

Horizons Chief Executive Michael McCartney says he is pleased that Council’s work programmes can be fully operational again however vigilance around keeping Covid out must remain.

“We have reopened service centres at a reduced level, with the appropriate safety measures in place including staff adhering to physical distancing, face coverings and contact tracing requirements,” says Mr McCartney.

“Regional House in Palmerston North will be open to the public from 10am today, with our other service centres staggering their openings. Whanganui will open from 10am on Thursday, Marton 10am on Friday, and Woodville and Taumarunui will open at 9.00am on Monday 13 September.

“Our priority is to keep everyone safe and we still have a number of people working from home. We also have a maximum number of people allowed in our front of house areas, and require customers to wear a mask and scan in using our NZ Covid Tracer QR codes displayed at the entry to all our facilities.

“This is a busy time for us with rate payments due 24 September, so we ask anyone coming into our offices to be particularly patient with staff during this period.

“Wherever possible we encourage our ratepayers to make contactless payments via our website www.horizons.govt.nz or by phone on 0508 800 800. Due to the disruption of Covid-19, fees for online credit card payments have been suspended.”

Transport Manager Mark Read says with the region returning to Alert Level 2, bus services have reverted to normal schedules however with some changes to how they operate.

“Cash fares and Beecard transactions will be able to take place on the bus. Face coverings remain mandatory and QR codes are on board all buses for passengers to scan,” says Mr Read.

“While physical distancing is not required on public transport under Alert Level 2 it is encouraged where possible, and passengers are not allowed to stand.”

Mr McCartney says with a reduction in Alert Levels, the Manawatū Whanganui Civil Defence and Emergency Coordination Centre operating out of Te Ao Nui, Palmerston North, has scaled back.

“Our Covid-19 response is now being managed by Horizons’ Emergency Management team,” says Mr McCartney.

“Council meetings will continue to be held virtually and are being recorded and added to our website retrospectively to ensure decision making remains transparent.