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The Central Otago District Council (CODC) is stepping up measures to ensure services and facilities will continue despite the inevitable disruption coming with Omicron.

CODC chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said public services, including essentials such as water and waste services, would continue under Red traffic light settings.

Public facilities including council-operated pools and district libraries would also remain open, with vaccine passes required.

However, Ms Jacobs said a level of disruption was likely for some CODC services as Omicron spread and more people contracted the virus.

“Our staff are no different to anyone else, and we will have to adapt if and when Omicron comes through our organisation.

“We are asking for our community’s understanding and patience as we work through this together.”

CODC has been operating with just 50% of staff in the office at any time since the last lockdown, while the rest work from home.

“We are making full use of the technology that enables us to be mobile and work remotely,” Ms Jacobs said.

From Monday that practice extended and all staff who could work from home were encouraged to do so more often.

In addition, a workplace bubble system was implemented and contingency plans were developed for business continuity and to ensure delivery of critical roles in the event of an outbreak.

“At the forefront of our thinking and planning has been how we reduce the risk to our staff as individuals, to business units, to service delivery and to the community we serve,” Ms Jacobs said.

“Despite this planning and change in how we’re working, locals should be prepared for possible temporary facilities closures or reduced levels of service if we simply don’t have the people power.”

For the foreseeable future under Red, meetings with external stakeholders would be held online, and council and community board meetings would be held via Microsoft Teams video conferencing and livestreamed.

Customer walk-ins at council offices and service centres could still happen, with appropriate safety measures. All customer-facing interactions would require masks to be worn.

To reduce interaction, people are encouraged to use the customer services phone line (03 440-0056) or website online services forms at mycodc.codc.govt.nz/do-it-online.