COVID-19 Community Support Hub

The information below is current as of 16 September 2020.

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only. 

Click here for up to date information on local impacts and information.

For the latest advice on COVID-19 in Victoria, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website. For translated information, please visit the DHHS Translated Resources webpage.

Council staff are still working and are here to take your phone calls and assist you. Our Customer Service Centres are closed until further notice.  However, You can contact Council via phone on 1300 229 229, via email at bawbaw@bawbawshire.vic.gov.au, on social media or via Live Chat on this website.

For Baw Baw Shire Council updates, please bookmark this page as we will be updating it regularly with information for our community. You can also follow our updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Local impacts and information

Current restrictions

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 16 September, regional Victoria - including Baw Baw Shire - will be in the Third Step Towards COVID Normal.

At this Step, there will be no restrictions on the reasons for leaving home or distances travelled, although you won’t be able to travel into areas with higher restrictions. The focus will be activities outdoors, however there will be some limitations on the numbers of people you can meet up with.  A household bubble will be introduced to allow for more social visits within the home, but this will also have limitations on numbers.

What does this mean for you

Social

  • leave home - no restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance you can travel but stay safe
  • public gatherings - up to 10 people outdoors
  • visitors to the home - create a ‘household bubble’ with one nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household at a time (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap)

Click here to view the Third Step social FAQs.

Education and childcare

  • childcare - open
  • in regional Victoria, staged return to onsite learning for all students in Term 4 with safety measures in place
  • adult education - restricted. Learn from home if you can, onsite for hands-on, skills-based learning

 Click here to view the Third Step education FAQs.

Work

  • work from home if you can

Exercise and recreation

  • Outdoor contact and non-contact sport for people aged 18 and younger, outdoor non-contact sport only for adults, with gathering and density limits, outdoor skateparks open, outdoor fitness for groups of 10 people

Shopping, personal services, eating and drinking out

  • hospitality - predominantly outdoor, group limit of 10 and density limits
  • retail - all open, hairdressing and beauty services where a face covering can be worn for the duration of service. Based on advice from DHHS, home-based hairdressing and beauty services are permitted to operate from home in a business capacity.
  • real estate - private inspections by appointment only, auctions outdoors subject to gathering limits
  • shopping - no person limits

Ceremonies and special occasions

  • weddings - allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant)
  • funerals - allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit)
  • religion - outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader, places of worship open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader

Entertainment, leisure and travel

  • travel within Victoria - allowed across all areas in the Third Step (except travel to areas with higher restrictions)
  • entertainment - outdoor venues and events open, subject to pre-approved plans
  • accommodation - open, with caps per the social bubble
  • travel - caravan parks and camping grounds are now able to reopen

When will we move to the next step?

Subject to public health advice, from 23 November if we get to zero new cases state-wide for 14 days, we can move to the Last Step.  

Click here to view all Third Step FAQs.


For more details on rules, restrictions and advice - including tips on handling and disposing of face coverings - visit the DDHS website.

For translated information, please visit the DHHS Translated Resources webpage

We all need to play our part to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). By staying at home and limiting contact with other people, we can help protect ourselves, our families and our communities from coronavirus (COVID-19).

What you can do to stop the spread

  • Wear a face mask. All Victorians must wear a face covering when outside their home. (Exemptions apply for children under 12 and for some medical conditions).
  • Adhere to the current State Government COVID-19 restrictions. From 11.59 on Sunday 13 September , regional Victoria - including Baw Baw Shire - will be in the Second Step Towards COVID Normal. This Step will mean there continues to be only four reasons that you can leave home:
    • shop for food and essential goods or services
    • provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
    • outdoor exercise or recreation
    • work or education, if you can’t do it from home
  • Stay safe by washing your hands, keeping at least 1.5 metres from other people, and staying home if you feel unwell.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should get tested.

What is Council doing in response to the situation?

Community and Business Support Package

Baw Baw Shire Council has launched a $440,000 stage-one community and business support package to financially assist residents, sporting clubs, community groups and local businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

For details, please see the categories listed in the drop down menus below.

Following Australian and Victorian Government Directives

The Australian and Victorian Governments are the lead authorities on measures to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.

Council is responding according to the Australian and Victorian Government’s direction. Council has an adopted Pandemic Plan and a Business Continuity Plan in readiness for such scenarios and these plans are currently being enacted. The measures being taken are outlined in the tabs below.

Support for ratepayers

Baw Baw Shire Council has introduced several support measures to financially assist ratepayers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with further support announcements still to come.

Initial support measures include:

  • Extension of time: Payment terms for the fourth instalment have been extended by one month, from 31 May to 30 June 2020. Penalty interest will be exempt for this period.

  • Hardship Policy - COVID-19: The Hardship Policy - COVID-19 Addendum outlines options available to those facing financial hardship. Click here to access a copy of the policy(PDF, 58KB) or complete the COVID-19 Hardship Application form to make an arrangement. 
  • Free extension of all disabled parking permits until 30 June 2020.

  • Access to community support programs: Click here for available services and resources.

  • Talk to us: If you need additional relief, please contact us as soon as possible to check your eligibility for other supports and make appropriate payment arrangements.

Pensioner Concession Card and Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders may be eligible for further rates and levy concessions through the Victorian Government. If you have already received a concession for your property in 2019/2020, no further concessions will be applied. For more information visit https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/concessions-and-benefits 

Additional support measures are being considered and will be announced in due course.

Support for businesses

Baw Baw Shire Council has launched a support package to financially assist local businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

For details of the support available, as well as further advice, updates and support to help your business respond to COVID-19, please go to the Coronavirus Business Support page.

If you need help, Council’s Economic Development team is ready to help you navigate through all the information available, obtain the right assistance (from local, State and Federal Governments) and access other support resources. For assistance, call 1300 229 229 or email economic.development@bawbawshire.vic.gov.au.

Support for sporting clubs and community groups

Initial supports for sporting clubs and community groups include: 

  • Waiving all winter and annual fees for community sporting clubs including utility services such as water, electricity and gas (excluding usage).

  • Waiving the annual fee and covering utility service to property charges for other community clubs tenanted who typically pay annual fees.

Additional support measures are being considered and will be announced in due course.

Help and support for mental and physical health

People are social. Isolation can be hard. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed by everything that's going on, it’s okay to feel this way - and it's okay to get help and support. Whatever your age, background, gender or disability there's support waiting for you.

For an index of support services, please visit the Get Help and Support webpage. On this page you'll find contact information for a wide range of services in Baw Baw Shire.

What services are still operating?

Services operating with restrictions:

What services and facilities are closed?

Services temporarily suspended/closed

  • Advisory Committee meetings.
  • Committee of Management meetings.
  • Council Pop-ups.
  • Council-managed bookable spaces.
  • Public events on Council land.
  • Council’s community bus.
  • Leisure centres and indoor pools. (The Warragul Leisure Centre outdoor pool will open on Monday 21 September with restrictions in place.)
  • West Gippsland Arts Centre, including Albert and Smith restaurant.

While caravan parks and camping grounds are now open, please note that due to recent wet weather events and the continued recovery of Council's camping grounds through recent peak Winter usage, Walhalla’s Northern and Southern camping ground areas will remain closed to ensure open space and turf areas are fully rejuvenated prior to reopening.

Changes to Council meetings

Council Meetings

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing measures, there may be limits applied to the number of community members who are able to attend Council Meetings.

If you would like to attend, please register your intent here.

Community members who have not registered their intent to attend will not be allowed to attend the Council Meeting.

All Council meetings will be live-streamed, and archived recordings will be available on the Council website for viewing.

Community members can still submit questions on notice following current protocols. All questions will be responded to in the meeting and responses will be provided to the author.

How to make a submission

Council will accept written submissions on any agenda item. Written submissions are to be received by 5.00pm on the Tuesday before the Council Meeting. Submissions can be made via email to via the online form found on this webpage.

Community Members may also contact Council on 5624 2411 and officers will transcribe a submission. Submissions will be limited to 500 words.

Caravan parks and campsites

Caravan parks and camping grounds have reopened under the Third Step of the Regional Roadmap to Covid Normal.

You can now book accommodation at caravan parks and camping grounds across Regional Victoria to share with people you live with, your intimate partner, or the household you have formed a bubble with. 

There are no restrictions on how long you can stay at a caravan park or camping ground.

Please note that due to recent wet weather events and the continued recovery of Council's camping grounds through recent peak Winter usage, Walhalla’s Northern and Southern camping ground areas will remain closed to ensure open space and turf areas are fully rejuvenated prior to reopening.

Transfer Stations and Waste Collection

Transfer stations

Members of the community are able to attend transfer stations, provided they strictly adhere to physical distancing requirements. Our transfer stations remain open. You may use the transfer station if you believe your trip is essential.

Under the Victorian Government’s public health directions, access to transfer stations to dispose of household waste from a general tidy up is not considered an essential activity.

Essential activity, however, may include:

  • disposal of waste from properties that do not receive any kerbside waste collection services
  • where stockpiling waste on your property may pose a safety hazard.

Stay home. Protect the health system. Save lives.

Please consider if your visit to a transfer station can wait until circumstances change. Do not attend if you are unwell, and ensure you follow physical distancing rules.

Please note that for the safety of all, EFTPOS transactions are the preferred method of payment at all Baw Baw Shire Transfer Stations.

Kerbside waste collection

Kerbside waste collection is continuing as normal. The following advice is provided to residents about how to safely dispose of household waste during this time.

  • If you take your bin to the kerb, make sure you wash your hands before and after you bring it back in.
  • If you take a bin out on behalf of others make sure you wear gloves and dispose of them appropriately. 

For those with coronavirus (covid-19), the following steps should be taken;

  • Put all your usual items in your bin which goes out for kerbside collection. Wash your hands afterwards.
  • Put disposable items (tissues, cleaning cloths, masks and gloves) into a sealed plastic or paper bag.
  • Put the bag in your general waste bin (not recycling or green waste) for kerbside collection.
  • Put paper, cardboard and other recyclables that have been in contact with the above disposable items into your general waste bin as well.
  • Wash your hands straight after handling disposable items or items that have been in contact with them.

To help waste collectors, please ensure the following:

  • Compact rubbish, if possible, before putting it in your kerbside general waste bin.
  • Don’t compact waste that is already in the bin. It may become stuck and not empty properly.
  • Don’t overfill waste or recycling kerbside bins or put them where they may easily tip over or spill.

Soft Plastics

There are no changes to the availability of REDcycle bins in Coles and Woolworths stores.

Bins may be moved occasionally for a variety of reasons, however both Coles and Woolworths remain committed to REDcycle in stores.

If you have any questions, please speak to the Store Manager.