Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Visitors to Auckland Zoo, museums and libraries may need to be fully vaccinated

Popular Auckland attractions like the zoo, museum, art gallery and libraries could be added to the growing list of locations, events and jobs closed to people who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

And Kiwis wanting to see Lorde perform at her Solar Power Tour at Western Springs on March 5 are likely to fall under an edict from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that only fully vaccinated people will be able to attend summer festivals.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff today said discussions are under way about what council facilities and staff could be mandated for vaccination.

His comments follow Covid-18 Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins’ announcement yesterday requiring hundreds of thousands of healthcare and education workers to be double vaccinated by December 1 and January 1 respectively.

Speaking on the student radio station bFM this morning, Goff said the Auckland Museum, Auckland Art Gallery, Motat, zoo and event venues like the Civic Theatre are among the council facilities being considered.

In a normal year, 700,000 people visit the zoo, the art gallery attracts about 60,000 visitors and Auckland Museum is planning for 659,000 visitors this financial year.

Goff said the Government has not gone beyond health and education workers at this stage, but the council is looking for a signal from the Government that the council and others can follow suit.

If people are not allowed into events who are not double-vaccinated, said Goff, then you cannot have staff there who are not double-vaccinated.

He said the council is going to have to make decisions about council staff in public-facing roles in places like the zoo, museum and art gallery, but also staff in the city’s 55 libraries.

“We will have to adapt as an organisation unless the Government makes a more general mandating rule,” he said.

Ardern announced last week that people wanting to attend music festivals over summer are going to have to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of entry.

Such a rule is likely to spill over to council venues, like Mt Smart and Western Springs, which host many of the city’s large outdoor concerts.

Over summer, the council’s events arm Auckland Unlimited has a number of concerts planned at Western Springs, including Lorde’s Solar Power Tour on March 5, L.A.B. on January 22 and Outerfields, featuring Fat Freddy’s Drop, Benee and The Beths, on December 4.

Motorsport fans have the Repco Bathurst 1000 Boot Party on December 5 at Western Springs to look forward to and speedway from October 16 to March 26.

There’s also a string of cultural events planned over the coming months, including A French Christmas at the Auckland Town Hall on December 5 and the Wonderland Warehouse Party at Shed 10 on Queens Wharf on December 11.

Robbie Macrae, interim director of arts, entertainment and events at Auckland Unlimited, said events will be carried out in line with the most up-to-date Ministry of Health requirements.

“Auckland Unlimited supports the Government’s message to encourage people to get vaccinated so we can all enjoy concerts, theatre shows and major events when alert levels allow.

“We are working with organisers and partners on several events planned over the summer period on what can safely be held under Covid-19 capacities and restrictions,” Macrae said.

Eden Park, which is not owned by the council, will be the venue for the first-ever international concert at the sports ground when Guns N’ Roses play there on December 10 next year.

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