Council advisors help businesses operate safely



31 May 2020

Council’s Alert Level 2 advisors help businesses operate safely

In Alert Level 2 it has been crucial to play it safe and hold fast to the gains made in Levels 3 and 4 and local businesses have been doing just that.

Prior to the move to Alert Level 2, Rotorua Lakes Council’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) pulled together a team of advisors from across Council to be our Alert Level 2 guideline gurus. Their role has been to visit businesses in the district and provide advice and information about complying with Level 2 rules.

Council’s Local Controller, Bruce Horne, says the advisors’ feedback has been really positive and the majority of local businesses are operating with their staff and customers’ health and wellbeing at the forefront.

“In the first week of Alert Level 2 our advisors visited almost 500 businesses around the district. Their job is to check in with businesses to ensure they have all the information they need to operate in compliance with Level 2 requirements, and to provide additional information and support where needed.”

He says, “We have been very mindful that the nature of this emergency has caused both a huge amount of hardship across the community and created a lot of uncertainty. Coming to grips with the COVID-19 restrictions has been a challenge for everyone. As part of the ‘whole of government’ response to this event, everyone on the EOC team felt the responsibility to help guide our community through the changes. Working alongside local businesses to help them do the right thing is an important part of that.

“We are also mindful that although there is a lot of good information on the COVID-19 website – working through the practical details for each particular business is sometimes a challenge and we believe it’s important to ensure our local businesses are given the support and advice they need.

“It’s been really encouraging to see most local businesses making an effort to operate in compliance with the rules, to protect the health and wellbeing of both their staff and customers.

“Likewise, most business owners have really appreciated the offer of help and advice and are quick to take on suggestions made by our advisors when they’ve noticed there is room for improvement.

“We’ve taken a lot of encouragement from the positive response we have had from local businesses as it shows people do want to get it right for the benefit of everyone,” says Mr Horne.

One local business that benefited from the information provided by our advisors was Pinata on Hinemoa Street.

Manager of Pinata, Hyon Ah Jeon, explains initially they didn’t have a clear understanding of their requirements under Alert Level 2 but following a visit from Council’s advisors, were able to quickly get processes in place.

She says, “The visit from the advisors helped us understand what we needed to do to make our shop safe for our customers and staff. They went through the Government requirements with us and showed us what health and safety processes we needed to put in place.

“Now in our store we have signage about COVID-19, social distancing markers so customers are reminded to keep 1 – 2m apart and hand sanitising stations. We also have a contact tracing register at the door.

“The advisors were helpful and answered our questions about what we needed to do and we hope they’ll be back with more information when we move to Level 1.”

Council’s advisors said Pinata took the advice on board and got comprehensive health and safety measures in place very quickly.

Mr Horne says this type of feedback is great to receive and reinforces the importance of a local civil defence response.

“We are very aware that a lot of people in the community are unaware of all the work Civil Defence does behind the scenes in an emergency. Our role is essentially one of co-ordination and working with all community agencies and government organisations.

“Our key message to everyone in this emergency is to ‘do the right thing’. Rather than focusing on the minimum requirements of the rules, we ask people to think about what they can do to best prevent the spread of the disease. If people take that approach we’ll achieve the result we are all working towards – protecting our communities from the threat of a COVID-19,” he says.

Council’s EOC team and advisors will continue to provide support through upcoming changes to the Alert Level rules and throughout future transitions.

For information about complying with Alert Level 2 requirements email

Page reviewed: 31 May 2020 9:00am