1 May 2020

ORC services at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3, Otago Regional Council (ORC) offices remain closed. However, all Council staff are working and many Council services are able to continue, and most suspended work programmes involving field work will resume.

Field work to be resumed at Level 3 includes site visits for compliance monitoring and pest plant inspections, as well as water quality sampling for our state of the environment monitoring programme. All field work at Level 3 is subject to protocols for safety and social distancing.

Council meetings will continue to be teleconferenced at level 3, with the next committee meeting scheduled for May 13.

At Alert Level 4, ORC’s essential services included public transport, 24/7 pollution response, 24/7 flood monitoring, natural hazard monitoring, flood protection management, and essential state of the environment monitoring, including air quality monitoring. All of these will continue in Level 3.

ORC is also home to the Emergency Management Otago team, whose Emergency Coordination Centre for Otago is coordinating activities across the region.

All other staff are working from home. This includes, for instance, our customer experience and consents teams, who are continuing to answer queries and process consents remotely.

Bus services at level 3

The Orbus service in Dunedin and Queenstown is largely unchanged at alert level 3. Buses will continue to be fare free and operate a reduced service, and we are still asking passengers to use the rear doors for entry and exit, where possible, and to keep a 2-metre physical distance while on the bus.

The major difference is that buses are now available for approved level 3 activities which were prohibited at level 4, such as traveling to or from school and undertaking safe, non-essential shopping.

The Queenstown network will also change to a half-hourly service to route 1, Frankton to Remarkables Park Centre.

Public transport staff will work with organisations like schools to monitor demand and any need for additional capacity. We are asking parents to register through an online form that their child will be using Orbus to get to school, to ensure we have adequate capacity. The form can be found online here.

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