11 April 2020
Please continue to keep it safe and local
Thank you to everyone who has been following Alert Level 4 requirements by keeping their exercise safe and local.
The electronic counters Council has in Whakarewarewa Forest have shown a significant reduction in forest use, particularly by mountain bikers.
Weekend access at one of the main forest entry points for bikers is down by 80%. Other locations are also showing reductions between 20% and 40%; indicating that people are exploring and enjoying their own neighbourhoods rather than travelling to the forest.
Rotorua Lakes Council’s, Civil Defence Emergency Management Controller, Bruce Horne says, “This behaviour is to be commended as the less we travel, the more likely we are to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The reduction in people travelling to the forest suggests more people are using their local reserves and shared paths.
“People are going for their daily walks, runs, or rides in their family or household bubbles, within their own neighbourhoods, which can mean we’ve got more people than usual on some paths and tracks at one time. We need to be extra considerate of each other’s space, so please be patient, slow down, and keep to the 2m distancing rule,” Mr Horne says.
“Thank you to everyone who has adjusted their usual activities for the benefit of the wider community.
What people need to know if they want to use the forest and other reserves:
- Vehicle access points to the forest are now closed
- If you want to access the forest for exercise, please do so by foot or bike – do not drive to the forest
- Do not meet up with others – stay in your bubble
- Stick to areas where you are able to easily stay 2m from anyone you may come across
- Keep dogs on leads to avoid contact with other dogs and people not in your bubble
- Be mindful of other users in public spaces
- Ride and exercise safely and within your ability
- Tell someone where you are going and take your mobile phone. Do not put yourself in a situation where you could be injured and require emergency help
Council is continuing to monitor the use of the forest and reserves with our partners, including the owners of the forest, and are taking an initial encourage and educate approach with people who may be stretching the isolations rules. However people who choose to consistently ignore the rules that are in place to keep the community safe will be referred to the Police who have the power to enforce Alert Level 4 restrictions.