Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Update from Council

Published on 16 March 2020

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Baw Baw Shire Council’s number one priority is the safety and well-being of our community. Taking action based on the best advice of the Australian and State Government authorities is the best way we can protect people from the risks attached to the COVID-19 virus. As a result Council is taking a number of actions immediately.

Cancellation of non-essential mass gatherings of 500 or more people

Starting Monday 16 March 2020, Council is requesting the cancellation of all non-essential mass gatherings of 500 or more people.

For events with fewer than 500 attendees, discretion over cancellation remains with event organisers. However, Council encourages all event organisers to carefully consider the necessity of their event in light of the ongoing public health concerns.

West Gippsland Arts Centre theatre events cancelled or postponed

 Effective immediately, all West Gippsland Arts Centre theatre events scheduled to take place over the next four weeks are cancelled or postponed. 

WGAC is currently working through an exchange process for shows that can be rescheduled and a refund process for shows not taking place. For rescheduled shows that you are unable to attend, a refund will be offered.

Ticket holders will be contacted directly by WGAC with exchange and/or refund details. If you purchased these tickets for someone else, please ensure you pass on this information to them.

To those who have bookings for Albert and Smith Restaurant, please note the restaurant will not open Tuesday 17 March. It will, however, reopen and operate as normal thereafter: Thursday to Saturday evenings and Tuesday to Saturday for lunch.

Council-run non-essential public events cancelled or postponed

Effective immediately, all non-essential Council run events scheduled to take place over the next four weeks are cancelled or postponed. This includes Council pop-ups and public consultation sessions.

At this stage, Council meetings will proceed with information about the particulars to follow.

Social distancing measures

Council encourages all residents to adopt social distancing measures as much as is practicable.

This means aiming to stay 1.5 metres away from other people when you can and avoiding enclosed social spaces as much as feasible. It is also recommended that physical interaction be avoided, including shaking hands, hugging or kissing.

Self-quarantine measures

Anyone who has been overseas in the past 14 days or is a close or casual contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 is at the highest risk of infection. If you have been overseas in the past 14 days you must:

  • stay at home (self-quarantine).
  • avoid public settings - this means you should not attend work, school, childcare or university or go to other public places such as restaurants, cinemas or shopping centres and should not use public transport or taxis.
  • do this for 14 days after arriving in Australia (other than when seeking medical care)
  • only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home.
  • you should stay in a different room to other people as much as possible.

Critical Council Services

At present, Baw Baw Shire Council services are operating as usual. However, the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the lead authority and Council takes all direction from this agency and the Chief Health Officer.

Council is prepared to respond according to the Victorian Government’s direction and has an adopted Pandemic Plan as well as a Business Continuity Plan in readiness should the situation require their enaction. These plans ensure the delivery of critical council services in the face of emergencies and mass disruption.

Council’s Pandemic Plan is publicly available via Council’s website.

These actions are designed to avoid harm to the community, particularly for those people who are more vulnerable to this virus – our elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

Council acknowledged, however, that this is a rapidly changing situation. For the most accurate information and guidance about the current COVID-19 outbreak, please go to www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

Quotes attributable to Mayor Cr Danny Goss

“Our main concern is to keep our community safe. These measures are based on the best possible advice to help to flatten the curve of the virus. Now is the time for the community to take note of these precautions, stay informed and most of all, support each other as we go through this period of uncertainty. Council will continue to take direction from the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that we are in the best possible position to support our community.” 

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