“It’s safe to come out.”
Councillor Lynette Lovett believes that’s the message to get out to people, that they have a life to live in the outside world and not hiding away from Covid.
Lovett suggested a campaign to get people back out in the community now Covid restrictions are relaxed to Safer Communities representatives at the Ashburton District Council’s funded agencies’ six-monthly update.
She said that on a trip to the supermarket the day after the Government announced the end of the traffic light system there were a lot of people still wearing masks out of fear.
“They are too scared to take them off some people, especially the older ones, in case they catch Covid and it’s not safe,” she said.
“We need to say to people to leave Covid behind and get out now and start enjoying the space.
“We need to encourage these people to leave their houses and start communicating with other people.
“Put down their mask and come and join society again.”
Lovett said some people may still need to wear masks for their own health concerns or peace of mind and they should do so back in the public realm without fear or judgement, rather than hiding away.
The Covid-19 Protection Framework – also known as the traffic light system – was discarded on September 12 meaning all mask-wearing requirements were removed, except for in healthcare and aged-care facilities.
In making that announcement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that as the most recent health advice was that with the lowest cases and hospitalisations since February, the population being well vaccinated, and expanded access to anti-viral medicines, New Zealand was in a position to move forward.
Lovett believes that message needs to be delivered throughout the community to encourage people to start to move on and get back to normal.
Covid still exists but people have lives to live she said.
- By Jonathan Leask