Our Abbeyfield houses are now closed to all visitors, except essential visitors such as medical and social service staff, as a result of the requirement for New Zealanders to self-isolate in their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential visitors must conduct their visits in the resident’s room or outside courtyard area, rather than in common areas. These measures will be in place for four weeks at least.
As most of our residents are aged over 70, and therefore vulnerable to COVID-19, they are being urged to stay in their house, and only go out for solitary walks in the neighbourhood to get fresh air. Many houses have arranged for housekeepers or house committee members to pick up any items residents need from the supermarket or pharmacy. Residents are also being advised to maintain physical distancing protocols and stay at least 2 metres away from each other, and to maintain good hygiene.
Our Abbyefield houses are deemed to be essential services, so our housekeepers and key volunteers are classed as essential workers during the COVID-19 lockdown. That also means that our national office continues to operate as normal. However, meetings are being conducted in alternative ways, such as by conference call or Skype.