PM thanks cleaners during lockdown

“These are our essential workers and I hope we continue to recognise them as that long after this pandemic has passed."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has thanked the work of cleaners during the nationwide lockdown.

At her daily media briefing, Ardern said cleaners will play an essential role as businesses and workplaces prepare to re-open following the move to alert level three from next week.

“Today my thanks and appreciation goes to our cleaners,” Ardern said.

“I’ve had many letters outlining their essential work during lockdown alert level four, such as from another essential business, a meat processor, crediting their cleaners as a core part of their success in continuing to move products around the country for New Zealanders.”

Ardern said she had also received letters from the courts who said their cleaning staff “are the first line of defence” at keeping their premises safe.

Ardern said cleaners are often working “extra shifts at all times of the day and night” – making a special mention to a cleaner named Rose who is currently working 13-hour days at Otahuhu Police Station, in Auckland.

“These are our essential workers and I hope we continue to recognise them as that long after this pandemic has passed. Thank you for keeping us safe.”

Ardern announced on Monday the countrywide lockdown would stay at alert level four for another week before being lifted to level three from late Monday, 27 April.

Alert level three restrictions will remain for a minimum of two weeks, before the decision to move is revisited on May 11.

At the time of the announcement Arden said the move to alert level three next week is about allowing for more economic activity to restart such as construction, manufacturing and forestry but does not allow more social activity.

According to Ardern, the country’s COVID-19 transmission rate — the number of times each person with the virus passes it on to another — is now less than 0.5. Overseas, the average is 2.5 people.

New Zealand introduced level four restrictions on March 25, which involved shutting down offices, schools and all non-essential services.

The decision has been welcomed by the Building Service Contractors Association of New Zealand (BSCNZ), with the association urging cleaning service providers to be prepared for the post-coronavirus bounce back.

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