Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson says the Prime Minister's announcement of an unprecedented national lockdown to combat the covid-19 pandemic is "a day none of us will forget".
Patterson broadcasted from the Emergency Operations Centre [EOC] in Masterton yesterday to launch @covid19wairarapa.
The EOC is staffed by council officers and officials from Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa District councils, and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The move came as part of the response to Jacinda Ardern's notice of an escalation a Level 4 response to the outbreak.
From midnight tomorrow Level 4 will be introduced.
Level 4 is a range of measures designed to tackle the heightened risk that disease is not contained.
These include self-isolation for all New Zealanders except those working in "essential services", the closure of schools and colleges, and possible rationing and requisitioning of facilities.
Travel will be "severely limited" and a "major reprioritisation of healthcare services" will be called for.
The emergence of a case in Carterton last weekend indicated community transmission of the virus.
This means the virus has been passed on in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Patterson said "today was a day none of us will forget".
"The hope is, with the measures put in place, the numbers will slow.
"Although we will be distanced from each other for a while it is only physically. We are a close-knit community and today's announcements will not change that.
"We will just have to think a little differently about how we connect with each other now."
South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] to discuss emergency decision-making in governance processes in the light of the nationwide alert.
Mayor Alex Beijen said SWDC would be doing "everything we can" maintain "appropriate, timely and competent" services in the district during the lockdown.
"At a local level, we really will be looking to see how we can help our communities and reaching out the them to see how they can assist us during this time."
Carterton Mayor Greg Lang said the district was moving to the next stage of its pandemic planning.
"Our job as councillors is to reassure the community that we have everything under control and to keep calm and support and help one another."
A statement from neighbouring Tararua District Council [TDC] said it was following guidance from central government and collaborating with regional partners "as required".
TDC's Dannevirke service centre which will close on at 1pm. Access is restricted to one person at a time.
All other TDC service centres, libraries and the Woodville i-SITE remain closed. There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tararua at time of print.
The emergency SWDC meeting will be held at the Martinborough Town Hall from 1.30pm.
Visit facebook.com/covid19wairarapa for further updates on the virus in Wairarapa.
Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Newspaper Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.