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Counting down to Alert Level 2

Mayor says it is 'more important than ever' to shop local.

The nation steps down to Covid Alert Level 2 from midnight and with more freedom on offer Mayor Rehette Stoltz is urging people to be “socially responsible” as they come to grips with the new normal.

Mayor Stoltz said she was looking forward to walking through the city centre next week to talk to business operators and owners.

“If you go out, please make sure you are socially responsible and keep your social distance.

“Please practise hand-washing, sneeze in your elbow and stay at home if you or your kids are unwell.”

From tomorrow, retail, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and other public spaces, including playgrounds gyms and Tairawhiti Museum, can reopen.

All will be required to have physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in place.

Mrs Stoltz said it was more important than ever for people to buy locally.

As activity starts to return to local businesses, the Mayor has suggested residents save their money to spend in Tairawhiti.

“Many businesses have taken a hit due to the lockdown and now that the alert levels are starting to move, we could all give them a boost by shopping locally.

“Shopping locally helps create jobs and keeps dollars in our region. It builds local wealth, it's better environmentally as it reduces the use of fossil fuels, and there's even evidence that it is better for our health.”

Regional Recovery Governance Group Tairawhiti Rau Tipu Rau Ora is focusing its efforts on supporting businesses and easing the economic hardship many in the community are facing.

The council is offering free parking throughout the city to help support initiatives by Trust Tairawhiti — such as Let's Shop Tairawhiti! — and increased funding to businesses via the Regional Business Partner Programme.

More Gisborne District Council activities also open tomorrow under Alert Level 2, including councillors holding their May meeting in the council chambers.

Tomorrow's meeting could make the council the first local body in the country to move from electronic meetings, using such technology as Zoom, back to person-to-person.

Mayor Stoltz said the council offices in Fitzherbert Street would be open and operating from 10am to 2pm.

Contact tracing and hygiene practices will be in place.

The council office at Te Puia Springs will not open yet.

Mrs Stoltz said it would be preferred if people did their council business online.

Public toilets will open on Thursday but decisions relating to the Olympic Pool and HB Williams Memorial Library are still to be made.

The transfer station's recycling chute for paper, bottles and cardboard will also open tomorrow.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz. Gisborne Herald file picture by Liam Clayton