This page contains a column written by Mayor Sheryl Mai, regarding the Community response to COVID-19.
30/03/2020 10:00 a.m.
We’re now into day five of the Level 4 country-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
I imagine some of you are feeling much like me – a little fidgety and caged, concerned about family members and friends, and isolated from our normal social circles.
Thankfully, modern technology is really coming into its own, with Skype calls, video messaging, video conferencing and online services making the lockdown more bearable. Here are some tips for the lockdown period:
Know the facts
I can’t stress this enough, get your information from genuine sources, to be sure it’s right. So many people are heading to Facebook with their questions, and some answers can cause more confusion than clarity.
Please, use one of the websites set up to specifically answer your questions – either the official Government site, or our own frequently updated Council webpage. You can also call Council on 09 4304200, we’re gathering the latest localised information from verified sources (Ministry of Health, Police, Central Government), and adding our own Local Government details.
COVID-19 Government website
Whangarei District Council COVID-19 page
This may seem like a simple thing, but with everything that’s happening around the world and the constant online updates and news releases, things can overwhelm us without our even realising it. While we need to stay well-informed, it’s also important to take breaks, to filter news feeds, and to just sit with our faces to the sun for a while.
Stay grounded, take yourself on mental holidays through reading a good book, weeding the garden, going for a walk, watching movies or enjoying a series on TV. Have a morning cuddle with the kids in your bubble, take time to sit in the garden or on the deck/porch/front step during the day, create some new memories with your loved ones, either online or if you’re lucky, face-to-face.
Celebrate the community around you
Communities coming together to help each other, offering to deliver groceries to those unable to leave their homes, giving support to those in need, creating special groups on Facebook, putting bears in windows to brighten the days of children on walks with adults.
I am humbled by the amazing people we live with in our District, I am seeing a community response that goes above and beyond anything I could have hoped for or imagined. I have heard of online meetings for community groups such as gardening, Google meetings for school classes, online lessons for everything from Cubs and Scouts to Te Reo, and even art, piano and dance classes.
Neighbours are checking in on neighbours (via phone, email, online or over the fence), and phone trees are being set up to keep everyone safe. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s a shared experience we will never forget. We are resourceful, kind, practical, caring and supportive.
As for our household, Mike and I are making a plan for the next few weeks to give ourselves a sense of achievement at the end of the lockdown. We will also be walking and exercising together.
I am still working (from home), and Council is still running at full speed, with adjustments to ensure everyone is protected. Stay safe and be proud of how you and your fellow New Zealanders are handling this situation.