End of pass rules celebrated 

A group of people entered Te Awamutu Library when vaccine pass mandates came off on Tuesday.

Between 50-200 people entered Waipā District Council facilities on Tuesday to celebrate the end of vaccine passes.

Nina Parker, a Cambridge woman who launched a legal fighting fund last December to prevent the council requiring vaccine passes for entry to its venues, said it was an emotional day.

The group went to Te Awamutu and Cambridge libraries and then Go Waipā swimming pools in both towns.

“As a group, there was a lot of discussion about the healing nature of deciding to re-enter this way.”

Parker made a speech at each venue and read a submission by a 92 year old Christian man about trusting each other and people showing compassion to each other.

“I feel this was fitting for how we must move forward as a community.”

There were some tense moments around mask exemptions by some council staff, she said. “I feel this is natural.”

Waipā Community Services acting manager Brad Ward said “lots” of library books were checked out.

“We did note in general across the whole day that there was a level of confusion from members of the public to whether masks were still required since other restrictions had been lifted – so we were reminding people that Covid protocols still required a mask to be worn indoors by those aged 12 and over.

“Some of those without masks held exemptions which was also acceptable.”

Go Waipā chief executive Matthew Horne said there was some “minor confusion” around mask wearing. Masks must be worn entering and exiting the pools’ reception and dry side areas but once inside the actual pool areas, masks are optional.

“I feel there is a lot of emotion on all sides about these changes, and I respect where all people are coming from,” said Parker.

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