Waihi bat­tens down the hatches

Waihi Leader - - Front Page - By RE­BECCA MAUGER news@wai­hileader.co.nz

The coun­try is now in coro­n­avirus alert level 4.

Waihi, along with the rest of New Zealand, is reeling from the re­al­ity of lock­down to con­tain the virus.

Hau­raki Dis­trict Coun­cil mayor Toby Adams says es­sen­tial ser­vices such as wa­ter, waste­water, rub­bish col­lec­tion and road­ing will con­tinue. Coun­cil staff will work from home where they can. This in­cludes main­tain­ing call cen­tres, on­line ser­vices, and li­brary e-books. A list of on­line ser­vices is avail­able on coun­cil’s web­site.

Toby says the coun­cil’s fo­cus re­mains on meet­ing the needs of its com­mu­ni­ties.

“We’ll be scal­ing up our wel­fare ef­forts over the com­ing days and weeks to make sure we’re do­ing all we can do to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe,” he said.

“We all need to con­tinue to sup­port each other and es­pe­cially our el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. Keep your­selves safe, look af­ter each other and keep an eye on your neigh­bours.”

Schools are now closed. Waihi Col­lege prin­ci­pal Alis­tair Cochrane urges stu­dents to look af­ter them­selves and fam­ily. “Our thoughts are with you dur­ing th­ese dif­fi­cult time.”

School hol­i­days are be­ing brought for­ward so they can be com­pleted within the four week pe­riod of clo­sure. Hol­i­days are now March 30 to April 14.

Go Waihi

Large and small events are banned. The much-an­tic­i­pated Beach Hop and Waihi’s Warm Up Party has been post­poned un­til Novem­ber.

Go Waihi chair­per­son Kerry Sin­gle says their pref­er­ence was to post­pone.

“The de­ci­sion was taken out of our hands. When you have 12,000-15,000 peo­ple com­ing to a town and if there is some­one with a virus . . . we are a older gen­er­a­tion in Waihi and re­ally, the safety of our pop­u­la­tion is the most im­por­tant.”

Other big events that were can­celled or post­poned in­clude the Echo Walk­ing Fes­ti­val and The Nugget mul­ti­sport event. Meet­ings of clubs, sports teams, trips, or­gan­i­sa­tions and busi­nesses are can­celled.

Kerry says Waihi is a small com­mu­nity and now is the time to unite to­gether.

“Talk to your neigh­bour, even if it’s over the back fence. Neigh­bours need to look out for each other and where pos­si­ble help each other by mak­ing a trip to the shops to pick up for a num­ber of your neigh­bours at the same time.

“If you can help by pick­ing up or drop­ping off shop­ping, run­ning er­rands, or just make a friendly phone call, email Go Waihi at info@waihi.co.nz with your de­tails. We will de­velop a call tree to en­sure es­sen­tial ser­vices are still ac­ces­si­ble to the com­mu­nity. Our fo­cus is to prove we are a com­mu­nity that cares.”

New World Waihi

Su­per­mar­kets are an es­sen­tial ser­vice which will re­main open dur­ing the lock­down. But peo­ple are panic buy­ing at New World Waihi and it’s not help­ing, says store man­ager Aman­deep Cha­hal.

Re­stock­ing shelves is con­tin­u­ous but they are at the mercy of sup­pli­ers.

“We try to shop the way a cus­tomer would shop, and get in ev­ery­thing they need.

“We are mak­ing sure we are or­der­ing enough, but once we or­der, then it’s out of our hands.

“When you get an event like Christ­mas, you know it’s all been or­gan­ised six months prior and they are pre­pared but this has hap­pened all of a sud­den — so sup­pli­ers may be lag­ging to get trucks on the road, etc.”

Aman­deep was hop­ing things would calm down this week, but this hasn’t been the case.

“It might not look like it but we are or­gan­is­ing stock and we are catch­ing up.”

The su­per­mar­ket has hired new work­ers to stock shelves but the prob­lem is stock com­ing in. Some things are lim­ited to or­der. He says most cus­tomers are un­der­stand­ing but some are ir­ri­tated.

“We are tak­ing it hour by hour, we are try­ing to meet needs and do what we can.” Waihi Fam­ily Doc­tors

The lo­cal doc­tors have been in­un­dated with phone calls. They are triag­ing all pa­tients who want to come in and the bur­den of this work falls on the nurses. They’ve bought in ex­tra nurs­ing staff to cope with in­quiries.

Un­for­tu­nately, man­ager Rae Nor­man says a few peo­ple have come into the clinic with cold symp­toms hav­ing mis­led the staff dur­ing the triage process, which puts staff at risk.

“On a lo­cal level I am wor­ried about our staff be­com­ing in­fected. We are all healthy peo­ple and I would not ex­pect very se­ri­ous ill­ness. If we did be­come in­fected, we would not be able to come to work. It is a very stress­ful time for staff, our pro­cesses and the in­for­ma­tion we pro­vide to pa­tients is chang­ing ev­ery day,

I am mind­ful that staff could be­come ex­hausted by this, par­tic­u­larly as staff may be asked to work ex­tra days and un­der­take ex­tra tasks.”

Flu vac­ci­na­tions are avail­able ear­lier than planned. Rae says it is not flu sea­son yet “so there is no need to be vac­ci­nated im­me­di­ately but it gives us the space to get peo­ple vac­ci­nated in good time be­fore flu sea­son starts”.

“It does not vac­ci­nate against coro­n­avirus but it would save peo­ple from hav­ing the flu and coro­n­avirus at the same time, which could be nasty.” Prop­erty

LJ Hooker Waihi and Waihi Beach owner Gary Al­way says they hadn’t ini­tially no­ticed a down­turn dur­ing the pan­demic but things are chang­ing fast.

“Open homes had been show­ing good at­ten­dance. This will no doubt change in this fast mov­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

“LJ Hooker has can­celled all open homes for the next four weeks. We will then re­view af­ter the sit­u­a­tion has im­proved and only then af­ter se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion has been given to the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment. ”

PHOTO / KIT WIL­SON

Waihi is in lock­down.

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