Dog Daycare Collective

COVID 19 Alert Level 3 Phased Strategy for Auckland

5th October, 2021

This week the Prime Minister announced a three-phased approach to exiting Alert Level Three for Auckland. The plan is to incrementally provide more freedoms for Aucklanders as we navigate the Delta outbreak. 

Alert Level 3, Phase One

As of 11.59pm 5th October:

  • People will be able to connect with loved ones outdoors with no more than two households at a time, up to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Early childhood education will return for all
  • People can move around Auckland for recreation such as beach visits and hunting.

As a Dog Daycare Collective, we believe urban/ indoor daycare facilities cannot open safely at this Alert Level Three, Phase One. This is totally consistent with our previous stand. However, with the opening of access to outdoor contact the following types of services may open safely:

  • Rural based daycares with outside play areas only 
  • Daycares services involving adventure/off-site outdoor walks 

Those facilities offering only outdoor care for dogs will follow strict protocols for the safety of staff, clients, and our dogs. 

Alert Level 3, Phase Two allows:

  • Retail to open their doors, with the usual measures of wearing facemasks and keeping up physical distancing. 
  • Public facilities such as pools and zoos are open, and the number of people who can meet outdoors will increase to 25.

What this means for all Dog Daycare centres is that we can all safely operate at Level Three, Phase Two. Under strict safety measures, we can open our doors to our four-legged friends and their parents. 

For indoor based daycares, we are not there yet but we are hopeful that opening our doors is not too far away. We will keep you updated as information is announced 😊

In the meantime, enjoy a picnic and swim with your pooches and keep staying safe.

Alert Level 3 Response

20th September 2021

In April 2020 we, as a group of dog daycare owners, formed this Dog Daycare Collective to help support each other during these difficult Covid-19 times. Little did we know how long the difficult times would continue. Having reached out to each other we wanted to offer support, share ideas, and seek advice about the issues presented by changes in levels and what that meant for safe delivery of our services, in particular how the move to Alert Level 3 affects our ability to offer daycare, boarding, off-leash and adventure services.

Last year all of the Signatories below shared openly and honestly as a group, and it was clear that despite all of us fearing for the future of our businesses, our main concern was to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of not just our teams but our human clients and dogs too. We are cognizant that the Delta strain of Covid-19 changes the game.

Auckland enters Level Three from Tuesday 21st September at 11.59pm. Throughout the pandemic, the Signatories to this statement have consistently maintained that we will not open our doors to clients at Alert Level Three as we cannot guarantee the safety of staff, clients and dogs. We are all proud that we already uphold high standards of safety and care, as, despite the industry not being regulated, we have always drawn our references from the like-minded dog daycare operators around NZ that form this collective.

We have kept abreast of the changing government guidelines, sought advice and support from other industry bodies and as a result, we have agreed on the following:

  • We appreciate the move to Alert Level Three still presents significant restrictions on everyone’s day to day lives. People are being asked to work from home where possible and to maintain the integrity of their bubbles. Schools are closed except for essential workers’ children who have no other care options.
  • We agree with the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) that our dogs are not only part of our bubble but are to be treated like any human family member during these Covid Alert levels. We applaud the government for helping more businesses to open if they can and at Alert Level Three the criteria has changed from those that are proven ‘essential’ to those that can prove they are ‘safe.’
  • The MPI guidelines state: At Alert Level Three Businesses offering pet care services such as dog walking or dog grooming can operate but cannot have customers on-site. Arrange to drop off and pick up your pet in a contactless way. Contactless pickup and drop off is just one consideration when ensuring the health and safety of our dogs and humans.
  • We all feel confident that we could create robust, safe and ‘contactless’ options between our human clients and staff interactions, however, we do not believe that it is possible to maintain that standard when factoring in contact with the dogs and staff to staff interactions.
  • The risk of further community spread at Level Three is significant. The evidence shows that people have contracted Delta even when a high standard of protection has been provided to staff.
  • In the current outbreak, 62.7% of covid positive cases are under the age of 29. This demographic represents a significant number of our workforce. Keeping them safe at Alert Level Three is important and difficult to achieve in our workspaces.

We miss the dogs terribly and we know that after such a long lockdown period the dogs will have missed their friends too – so the craving for social interaction with their friends and cuddles from their favourite teachers would put everyone at a higher risk.

So, with everything taken into consideration we believe that for our dog daycares to STAY SAFE for you, we need to STAY CLOSED until Alert Level 2.

We are proud that despite the extreme circumstances and the need to keep our businesses closed for now, that we have created a valuable support network and have created a sustainable industry working group for the future. We are confident New Zealanders will stay committed to the elimination of Covid-19 and we are hopeful that we will all be able to reopen our doors again as soon as we are permitted.  We look forward to updating you closer to that date.