At midnight tonight New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2.
Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to our staff – to acknowledge the extraordinary job they have done in minimising the risk to themselves, each other, people with disabilities and our tenants over this time.
Along with minimising that risk, we can all feel proud of the way we have continued to support people and respond to need over that extraordinary time.
We have been in a lockdown mode for almost 8 weeks and while we are looking forward to doing things differently, we will not be making drastic changes to the way we work at Level 2.
At Level 2 more people are moving around and seeing more people. Therefore, in some ways we face an increased risk.
We have had a variety of information from the Ministry of Health about Level 2, but what is clear is that our obligation to minimise risk remains. That also aligns with our commitment to the people we support and each other.
We are already having conversations with the people we support and their families.
We are talking to families, who have had family members at home for the period, about how and when their family member could return to our service. Again, there will be a health and safety process to follow in order to minimise the risk to everyone.
Where people live at home or elsewhere, but usually attend our vocational services, we are considering how to reintroduce more support. That includes online tools and other ways of working.
For now, people in our residential services will continue to be supported from home during the day.
We know that for many of the people we support and their families, the visitor restriction has been very difficult.
At Level 3 we allowed a very small number of visitors, on compassionate grounds where risk could be minimised, as assessed by our clinical team.
At Level 2 we will be moving very slowly towards allowing a small increase in visitors at the discretion of the Area and Service Managers. Please talk to your local staff and rest assured that we have stringent processes in place.
Choices NZ, Accessible Properties and IHC Programmes
Throughout the IHC Group we are putting procedures in place as we work towards increasingly supporting people and engaging in person. However, we will continue to take a cautious approach and will meet online or by phone where possible as we slowly and carefully transition to Level 2.
Our offices will remain closed until at least 1 June 2020.
Please continue to contact us online or over the phone.
It will likely be some time before we allow visitors to our offices.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the way we work. Some things will, in time, return to the way they were before COVID-19 but some things will change for the better.
I look forward to updating you all.
Please stay safe,
IHC Group Chief Executive