COVID-19 key updates from Environment Canterbury

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Get the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation and advice on how we are responding and adapting to government directives and the changing situation.

Update 8: 3 December 2021

The Canterbury region is currently at the orange setting on the COVID-19 Protection Framework. Please go to the Government's dedicated website covid19.govt.nz for COVID-related updates and advice or the Ministry of Health website for detailed health information.  

  • At orange, our Tuam Street office opening hours are 8am till 5pm and Timaru office opening hours are 8.30am till 5pm (outside of these hours the buildings will be closed).
  • Systems are in place to ensure physical distancing and all visitors are required to scan the QR code and sign in and out and wear a face covering/mask.
  • Whether and when we may require visitor vaccination status to be declared, is still being considered.
  • You contact us on 0800 324 636 (8 am-5 pm) or via our contact us page.
  • Our field staff will follow the existing public health measures, including wearing masks as required. Non-Environment Canterbury sites that require proof of vaccine from our staff, we ask that you communicate this in advance, to the staff member.

Update 7: 8 September 2021

New Zealand is at alert level 2. Please go to the Government's dedicated website covid19.govt.nz for COVID-related updates and advice or the Ministry of Health website for detailed health information.  

  • At Alert level 2 our Tuam Street office opening hours are 8am till 5pm and Timaru office opening hours are 8.30am till 5pm (outside of these hours the buildings will be closed).
  • Systems are in place to ensure physical distancing and all visitors are required to scan the QR code and sign in and out.
  • Please note many of our staff are still working remotely, so we prefer - where possible - that you contact us on 0800 324 636 (8 am-5 pm) or via our contact us page.
  • For an update on Metro services please visit the Metro website.

Compliance, monitoring and enforcement

Under alert level 2 many of our normal processes relating to compliance monitoring and enforcement continue, but with some changes to the way we work with you.

If you are in any doubt or have any questions at all, please contact your compliance monitoring officer direct or our customer services team on 0800 324 636 or via our contact us form.

Recreational boating

  • Recreational boating is permitted under alert level 2

  • Someone in the group should keep a record of the people you’re with.

  • Further information about recreational activities that are permitted under alert level 2 can be found on the government's COVID-19 website

Regional parks

  • During alert level 2, your regional parks are open.

  • Please keep a two-metre distance from people you do not know, if possible.

  • When exercising outside, try to record the route you took and when. You can exercise with others in a group and someone in the group should keep a record of the people you're with.

  • Further information about recreational activities that are permitted under alert level 2 can be found on the government's COVID-19 website

  • There are restrictions in some areas of the Waimakariri River Regional Park due to flood impacts. There is more information on our parks events and notices page.
  • If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask to speak to the Duty Ranger. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

River engineering

  • We have scaled back all non-essential flood protection and drainage work in our riverbeds. We will be completing works that protect life, homes and critical infrastructure only.

    · All our flood prediction tools, rain gauges and river flow gauges will continue to operate as an essential service. If you have any questions about works in your area, please contact our customer services on 0800 324 636.

Public transport

  • For service updates about Greater Christchurch public transport during alert levels, please visit metro.co.nz
  • For service updates about Timaru public transport and MyWay by Metro during alert levels, please visit timaru.metro.co.nz.

Outdoor fires

  • Outdoor fires are permitted under alert level 2.
  • Visit our outdoor burning page for more information.
  • Please remember that even if your burning is allowed under our rules, Fire and Emergency New Zealand has its own seasonal restrictions and permitting requirements. Visit checkitsalright.nz for details.

Previous updates

Update 6: 1 September 2021

New Zealand is at alert level 3. Please go to the Government's dedicated website covid19.govt.nz for COVID-related updates and advice, or the Ministry of Health website for detailed health information.   

Environment Canterbury office buildings will be closed to the public during Level 3.  We will continue to take calls on 0800 324 636 and answer emails  (between 8am and 5pm) during this time or you can visit our contact us page.

Compliance, monitoring and enforcement  

We’ll still be processing consents in alert level 3 but will not be undertaking compliance site visits until we are in alert level 2. 

Recreational boating 

Regional parks 

  • During alert level 3, your regional parks remain open for those in the local area to use for recreation. Please continue to keep a two-metre distance from people who are not in your bubble. 
  • Maintenance and cleaning will be limited in the regional parks during alert level 3, and tracks will not be maintained. Please be cautious and continue to only carry out low-risk activities so you do not require rescuing or medical care.  
  • Further information about recreational activities that are permitted under alert level 3 can be found on the government's COVID-19 website.
  • Some areas of the Waimakariri River Regional Park remain closed due to the recent floods. More information can be found on the parks notices page.
  • If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask to speak to the Duty Ranger. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. 

River engineering 

  • We have scaled back all non-essential flood protection and drainage work in our riverbeds. We will be completing works that protect life, homes and critical infrastructure only. 
  • All our flood prediction tools, rain gauges and river flow gauges will continue to operate as an essential service. If you have any questions about works in your area, please contact our customer services on 0800 324 636.

Public transport 

  • For service updates about Greater Christchurch public transport during alert levels, please visit metro.co.nz  
  • For service updates about Timaru public transport and MyWay by Metro during alert levels, please visit timaru.metro.co.nz.

Avoid outdoor fires in alert levels 3 and 4

Environment Canterbury and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) are asking Cantabrians to wait until we are back in alert level 2 before lighting any outdoor fires.

This is to help keep our firefighters safe in their bubbles while we are in alert level 3 and to avoid unnecessary call-outs, particularly for our volunteer firefighters at this time.

  • Please do your bit and keep everyone safe by not lighting outdoor fires, including vegetation and garden waste, during this lockdown.
  • If you do need to urgently burn for biosecurity reasons, please call the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Southern Communication Centre first on 03 341 0266.
  • More information on avoiding lighting outdoor fires in lockdown is available on our website and at checkitsalright.nz. 
Update 5: 25 August 2021

Following the Prime Ministers' announcement today, Environment Canterbury office buildings will be closed to the public during the lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday 17 August until 11.59pm Tuesday 31 August.  

  • No field services will take place during this period.
  • We will continue to take calls and answer emails (between 8am and 5pm) during this time or you can visit our contact us page.

Recreational boating

During this period of Alert Level 4 lockdown, the national directive is to stay at home and not undertake any activities where you may unintentionally end up needing emergency services.

Regional parks

The key points are:

  • The strong message from our prime minister is to stay at home.
  • We understand that it's important to get out for fresh air and exercise, the national directive is to do so locally and keep at least two metres away from other people at all times.
  • A good rule of thumb is if you live nearby (i.e. walking/cycling distance) then it’s OK to use our tracks for your fresh air/exercise.
  • Do not do activities that may require search and rescue services. For example, do not go swimming or boating.
  • We can't restrict access to our parks completely, but we are putting in place the measures we can and relying on everyone to do the right thing, in order to keep everyone safe.
  • There is no vehicle access, including trail bikes, to all areas of the Regional Parks.
  • All toilet facilities are closed.
  • The NZMCA camping areas at the Lake Tekapo Regional Park and at The Willows at the Waimakariri River Regional Park are closed.
  • These areas of the Waimakariri River Regional Park remain closed due to recent flood damage:
    • Whites Crossing
    • Te Rauakaaka
    • Kaiapoi Island (above SH1) including the jet boat ramp and trail bike area
    • The trail bike tracks from Haul Road through to Weedons Ross Road on the south bank

If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask to speak to the Duty Ranger. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

River engineering

  • We have scaled back all non-essential flood protection and drainage work in our riverbeds. We will be completing works that protect life, homes and critical infrastructure only.
  • All our flood prediction tools, rain gauges and river flow gauges will continue to operate as an essential service. If you have any questions about works in your area, please contact our customer services on 0800 324 636.

Public transport

  • For service updates about Greater Christchurch public transport during alert levels, please visit metroinfo.co.nz.
  • For service updates about Timaru public transport and MyWay by Metro during alert levels, please visit timaru.metroinfo.co.nz.

Thank you for your patience while we all work through this lockdown period.

Avoid outdoor fires in lockdown

Help keep essential staff safe by not lighting outdoor fires during lockdown. Even if the fire is under control, the smoke often results in 111 calls which mean firefighters need to deal with an avoidable call and risk exposure to COVID-19.

This is particularly important due to the warm, windy weather forecast for the region for the rest of this week.

Please do your bit and keep everyone safe by not lighting outdoor fires, including vegetation and garden waste, during this lockdown.

If you do need to urgently burn for biosecurity reasons, please call the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Southern Communication Centre first on 03 341 0266.

More information on avoiding lighting outdoor fires in lockdown is available on our website and at checkitsalright.nz.

Update 4: 24 August 2021

Avoid outdoor fires in lockdown

Help keep essential staff safe by not lighting outdoor fires during lockdown. Even if the fire is under control, the smoke often results in 111 calls which mean firefighters need to deal with an avoidable call and risk exposure to COVID-19.

This is particularly important due to the warm, windy weather forecast for the region for the rest of this week.

Please do your bit and keep everyone safe by not lighting outdoor fires, including vegetation and garden waste, during this lockdown.

If you do need to urgently burn for biosecurity reasons, please call the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Southern Communication Centre first on 03 341 0266.

More information on avoiding lighting outdoor fires in lockdown is available on our website and at checkitsalright.nz.

Update 3: 23 August 2021

Following the Prime Ministers' announcement today, Environment Canterbury office buildings will be closed to the public during the lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday 17 August until 11.59pm Friday 27 August.  

  • No field services will take place during this period.
  • We will continue to take calls and answer emails (between 8am and 5pm) during this time or you can visit our contact us page.

Recreational boating

During this period of Alert Level 4 lockdown, the national directive is to stay at home and not undertake any activities where you may unintentionally end up needing emergency services.

Regional parks

The key points are:

  • The strong message from our prime minister is to stay at home.
  • We understand that it's important to get out for fresh air and exercise, the national directive is to do so locally and keep at least two metres away from other people at all times.
  • A good rule of thumb is if you live nearby (i.e. walking/cycling distance) then it’s OK to use our tracks for your fresh air/exercise.
  • Do not do activities that may require search and rescue services. For example, do not go swimming or boating.
  • We can't restrict access to our parks completely, but we are putting in place the measures we can and relying on everyone to do the right thing, in order to keep everyone safe.
  • There is no vehicle access, including trail bikes, to all areas of the Regional Parks.
  • All toilet facilities are closed.
  • The NZMCA camping areas at the Lake Tekapo Regional Park and at The Willows at the Waimakariri River Regional Park are closed.
  • These areas of the Waimakariri River Regional Park remain closed due to recent flood damage:
    • Whites Crossing
    • Te Rauakaaka
    • Kaiapoi Island (above SH1) including the jet boat ramp and trail bike area
    • The trail bike tracks from Haul Road through to Weedons Ross Road on the south bank

If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask to speak to the Duty Ranger. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

River engineering

  • We have scaled back all non-essential flood protection and drainage work in our riverbeds. We will be completing works that protect life, homes and critical infrastructure only.
  • All our flood prediction tools, rain gauges and river flow gauges will continue to operate as an essential service. If you have any questions about works in your area, please contact our customer services on 0800 324 636.

Public transport

  • For service updates about Greater Christchurch public transport during alert levels, please visit metroinfo.co.nz.
  • For service updates about Timaru public transport and MyWay by Metro during alert levels, please visit timaru.metroinfo.co.nz.

Thank you for your patience while we all work through this lockdown period.

Update 2: 20 August 2021

Following the Prime Ministers' announcement today, Environment Canterbury office buildings will be closed to the public during the lockdown from 11.59pm Tuesday 17 August until 11.59pm Tuesday 24 August.  

  • No field services will take place during this period.
  • We will continue to take calls and answer emails (between 8am and 5pm) during this time or you can visit our contact us page.

Recreational boating

During this period of alert level 4 lockdown, the national directive is to stay at home and not undertake any activities where you may unintentionally end up needing emergency services.

Regional parks

The key points are:

  • The strong message from our prime minister is to stay at home.
  • We understand that it's important to get out for fresh air and exercise, the national directive is to do so locally and keep at least two metres away from other people at all times.
  • A good rule of thumb is if you live nearby (i.e. walking/cycling distance) then it’s OK to use our tracks for your fresh air/exercise.
  • Do not do activities that may require search and rescue services. For example, do not go swimming or boating.
  • We can't restrict access to our parks completely, but we are putting in place the measures we can and relying on everyone to do the right thing, in order to keep everyone safe.
  • There is no vehicle access, including trail bikes, to all areas of the Regional Parks.
  • All toilet facilities are closed.
  • The NZMCA camping areas at the Lake Tekapo Regional Park and at The Willows at the Waimakariri River Regional Park are closed.
  • These areas of the Waimakariri River Regional Park remain closed due to recent flood damage:
    • Whites Crossing
    • Te Rauakaaka
    • Kaiapoi Island (above SH1) including the jet boat ramp and trail bike area
    • The trail bike tracks from Haul Road through to Weedons Ross Road on the south bank

If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask to speak to the Duty Ranger. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

River engineering

  • We have scaled back all non-essential flood protection and drainage work in our riverbeds. We will be completing works that protect life, homes and critical infrastructure only.
  • All our flood prediction tools, rain gauges and river flow gauges will continue to operate as an essential service. If you have any questions about works in your area, please contact our customer services on 0800 324 636.

Public transport

  • For service updates about Greater Christchurch public transport during alert levels, please visit metroinfo.co.nz.
  • For service updates about Timaru public transport and MyWay by Metro during alert levels, please visit timaru.metroinfo.co.nz.

Thank you for your patience while we all work through this lockdown period.

Update 1: 19 August 2021

Update 1: 19 August 2021

New Zealand is at alert level 4. Please go to the Government's dedicated website covid19.govt.nz for COVID-related updates and advice, or the Ministry of Health website for detailed health information.

  • At Alert Level 4 all Environment Canterbury offices and depots will be closed during the lockdown period for three days from 11.59pm Tuesday 17 August.
  • No field services will take place during this period.
  • We will continue to take calls and answer emails (between 8am and 5pm) during this time or you can visit our contact us page.

Recreational boating

During this period of alert level 4 lockdown, the national directive is to stay at home and not undertake any activities where you may unintentionally end up needing emergency services.

Regional parks

The key points are:

  • The strong message from our prime minister is to stay at home.
  • We understand that it's important to get out for fresh air and exercise, the national directive is to do so locally and keep at least two metres away from other people at all times.
  • A good rule of thumb is if you live nearby (i.e. walking/cycling distance) then it’s OK to use our tracks for your fresh air/exercise.
  • Do not do activities that may require search and rescue services. For example, do not go swimming or boating.
  • We can't restrict access to our parks completely, but we are putting in place the measures we can and relying on everyone to do the right thing, in order to keep everyone safe.
  • There is no vehicle access, including trail bikes, to all areas of the Regional Parks.
  • All toilet facilities are closed.
  • The NZMCA camping areas at the Lake Tekapo Regional Park and at The Willows at the Waimakariri River Regional Park are closed.
  • These areas of the Waimakariri River Regional Park remain closed due to recent flood damage:
    • Whites Crossing
    • Te Rauakaaka
    • Kaiapoi Island (above SH1) including the jet boat ramp and trail bike area
    • The trail bike tracks from Haul Road through to Weedons Ross Road on the south bank

If you need to contact us, please call 0800 324 636, and ask to speak to the Duty Ranger. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.

River engineering

  • We have scaled back all non-essential flood protection and drainage work in our riverbeds. We will be completing works that protect life, homes and critical infrastructure only.
  • All our flood prediction tools, rain gauges and river flow gauges will continue to operate as an essential service. If you have any questions about works in your area, please contact our customer services on 0800 324 636.

Public transport

  • For service updates about Greater Christchurch public transport during alert levels, please visit metroinfo.co.nz.
  • For service updates about Timaru public transport and MyWay by Metro during alert levels, please visit timaru.metroinfo.co.nz.

Thank you for your patience while we all work through this lockdown period.