1 metre social distancing – what it really means for orange regions

Image Source: South Taranaki District Council

Many of us (including me) have been under the misapprehension that the 1m social distancing rule for Covid-19 means that we need to maintain at least 1 metre distancing between participants in small group sessions, and this has prevented many partners from resuming their Stepping UP classes. It certainly contributed to our decision to put DORA out to pasture for 3 months. However, our good friend, Pete Gray, Manager – Libraries & Community at Whanganui District Council, pointed out the error of our thinking today to Alistair Fraser on our DIAA team by directing us to the official Government Covid-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) on what an orange traffic light means for public facilities such as libraries.

To quote from the official word: “some capacity limits are based on 1 metre distancing. This means the maximum number of people who could occupy the space if each person was 1 metre apart. People do not need to stand 1 metre apart.In other words, the 1 metre rule is about capacity limits in defined spaces, not actual social distancing.

DORA is a 7 metre bus; we assess the social distancing capacity would be 7 people (based on above rule), and this excludes ‘workers’, who in our case would be the tutors. So this means it would be pretty much ‘business as usual’ for attendees with Vaccine Passes. We can only assume the same would be true for library partners.

But what about masks? The Government accepts that there are situations when face coverings can temporarily be removed, and in particular “to eat or drink” or “to talk with someone who needs to see others’ mouths to communicate, due to being deaf or hard of hearing”.

So with nearly all regions moving to Orange on 31 December 2021, now is the time to plan your 2022 Stepping UP classes. Thanks Pete and Alistair for helping us to get this clear.

Digital Banking Partner Survey

We invite all our Stepping UP delivery partners to complete a brief online feedback survey.

In collaboration with our Stepping UP partners, we have been actively promoting the digital banking classes for the last 24 months – ever since Kiwibank first announced that they were withdrawing cheque services and closing some branches. Since then, other banks have followed this lead, and now cheques, and an increasing number of local bank branches, are history.

For the last two years, Kiwibank has supported a nationwide tour by DORA, our mobile digital classroom, and working with local partners, over 2500 people have been able to participate in a 2-hour class. TSB has also provided support for digital banking classes in Taranaki during the last 3 months and many partners are now offering digital banking classes on a regular basis.

Kiwibank has extended their support for a further 12 months and we welcome expressions of interest from partners to host a visit from DORA. Please use the Feedback Survey to provide any comments on your experiences to date in offering digital banking classes and any suggestions for reaching even more people in your community.