COVID-19 Community Support Hub

The information below is current as of 1 June 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. 

The situation is constantly changing, so it is important to keep up to date with information and follow all health and travel advice.

As we navigate this challenging period together, it’s important that we keep helping one another, provide support where we can, and practise safe ways to stay connected.

We may not be able to talk face to face right now, but Council staff are still working and are here to take your phone calls and assist you as normal. 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 the latest information on COVID-19 in Victoria, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services 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.  

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.

Current restrictions

In line with advice from the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced some further easing to restrictions.

With the rate of community transmission remaining low, and rate of testing remaining high, the contributions of Victorians have enabled us to make some changes.

At the same time, some measures must remain in place and if you can work from home you should work from home.

From 11:59pm 25 May, in line with schools returning to face-to-face learning, public playgrounds, outdoor communal gym equipment and skateparks were opened. Physical distancing and group limits remain in place.

From 11:59pm on 31 May the following changes will came into effect.

Gatherings

  • Private gatherings increase to a total of 20 people in a house, including members of the household.
  • Public gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, will increase to 20.
  • Weddings increase to 20 people, plus the celebrant and the couple.
  • Both indoor and outdoor funerals increase to 50 people, plus people reasonably required to conduct the funeral.
  • Private worship or small religious ceremonies increase to up to 20 people plus people reasonably required for the ceremony.

Business, travel, retail and personal services

  • Auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections increase to 20 people plus the minimum number reasonably required to facilitate.
  • Restaurants, cafes and pubs can open and serve meals for up to 20 patrons per space. Alcohol with meals only.
  • Overnight stays in private residences allowed.
  • Camping and tourist accommodation allowed if no use of shared facilities.
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours, massage parlours to open with up to 20 patrons.
  • Non-food and drink market stalls to open.

Sports and recreation

  • Community facilities to open, with no more than 20 people in a single space plus those reasonably required to run the space.
  • Indoor and outdoor pools can open, to maximum 20 patrons and limit of 3 people per lane in each pool. Please note: Warragul Leisure Centre will reopen for lap swimming on Tuesday 9 June. For more information, go to the Swimming page
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, outdoor amusement parks, drive-in cinemas, zoos and arcades to open with up to 20 patrons per space, while ensuring density limits are applied to the entire venue.
  • Non-contact outdoor sporting activities will increase to 20 people plus the instructor.

More information, including frequently asked questions, can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website. 

What you can do to stop the spread

  • Stay at home. Don’t visit friends, and don’t visit family at this time.
  • Do not travel overseas, interstate, take a cruise or travel domestically in Victoria unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Stay healthy with good nutrition, regular exercise, sensible drinking, sleeping well, and for smokers, quitting. 
  • Do not participate in community gatherings including community sport.
  • Take the following hygiene actions:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
    • Do not share drink bottles, crockery or cutlery.
  • Stop shaking hands, hugging or kissing as a greeting.
  • Ensure a distance of at least 1.5 metres is kept between yourself and others.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza) when available. This will help reduce the strain on the healthcare system as it deals with coronavirus.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly e.g. phones, keyboards, door handles, light switches, bench tops.

 

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.

  • Review of Hardship Policy: The Hardship policy outlines options available to those facing financial hardship. Council will undertake a review of Hardship Policy eligibility in view of the COVID-19 Outbreak. Click here to access a copy of the policy(PDF, 112KB) in its current form and an application form for assistance(PDF, 528KB).

  • 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 and facilities are closed?

Customer Service Centres

All Council Customer Service Centres and all Council-run facilities, halls and venues are closed until further notice.

The decision has been made to minimise face-to-face contact points and enhance social distancing measures in the interest of public health.

How to contact us

Residents are encouraged to contact Council via phone on 1300 229 229, email at bawbaw@bawbawshire.vic.gov.au, on social media or via Live Chat on this website.

Please note that due to the current circumstances, we are unable to provide the following services: 

  • Cat trap hire
  • Syringe disposal container exchange

Instead, we have arranged for sharps containers to be made available for exchange at the Chemist Discount Centre at 38 Palmerston Street, Warragul (next to Coles). 

For other options to safely dispose of syringes locally, please go to the Syringe Safety page

Aged and Disability Support Services

All social support groups, as well as shopping buses, have been suspended until further notice.

Home-based support services including meals on wheels and home maintenance will continue to be provided where possible in accordance with current health advice. 

Libraries

There will be a phased re-introduction of library services from 1 June 2020. 

The first step will be 'click and collect' bookings for holds. More details on how to make a booking will be available soon on the West Gippsland Libraries website.

West Gippsland Libraries has a wide range of digital resources available for free to all library members. For more information, please visit the West Gippsland Libraries website and sign up to become a member today.

Maternal Child Health and Family Services

Maternal Child and Family Health Services will continue remotely, predominately via phone. Maternal and Child Health Nurses are available by appointment for essential face-to-face bookings only. 

From Monday 30 March, all Maternal Child and Family Health Centres will be closed to visitors including:

  • Normanby Street, Warragul
  • Drouin Primary Early Learning Centre
  • Trafalgar
  • Erica
  • Yarragon
  • Willow Grove
  • Neerim South Centres.

Recreation Reserves

Council Recreation Reserves (including buildings) are closed for public bookings until further notice.

Clubs using recreation reserve facilities are advised to:

  • Turn off any unnecessary appliances to save on electricity costs
  • Ensure doors are locked and facilities are secured
  • Ensure clubs remove any alcohol and valuables from buildings
  • Make periodic drive-by checks on the facilities.
  • Report any vandalism to facilities by first calling the police and then advising Council 

West Gippsland Arts Centre

Effective immediately, all theatre performances are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Additionally, the Arts Centre building will be closed until further notice. Ticket holders will be contacted directly by the team with exchange or refund details. Please wait for the team to get in touch with you for the next steps.

The Albert & Smith restaurant will reopen on Tuesday 2 June, with normal opening hours. 

Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday from 12.00pm - 2.30pm
Dinner: Thursday to Saturday from 6.00pm - 8.30pm. 

Bookings are essential by calling 56242 559. 

YMCA facilities

 All YMCA managed facilities throughout Baw Baw Shire are currently closed, including

  • Warragul Leisure Centre (reopening 9 June 2020).
  • Bellbird Park Indoor Stadium
  • Rawson Indoor Pool
  • Thorpdale Outdoor Pool
  • Neerim South Outdoor Pool
  • Trafalgar Outdoor Pool
  • Thorpdale Outdoor Pool

Membership Information

Memberships will automatically be placed on free suspension during the time these facilities are closed, so you won’t be charged for any membership or programs. Any fixed-term memberships or multi-visit passes will have expiration dates extended upon re-opening.

Enquiries

Baw Baw's YMCA facilities will remain contactable throughout the closure period should you have any questions. 

Changes to Council meetings

Council Meetings

Until further notice Council will be limiting attendance at its Council Meetings in the following ways:

  • Only essential officers will attend Council Meetings
  • There will be no public access/gallery attendance at Council Meetings

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

At the direction of the Chief Health Officer Victoria all campsites, caravan parks and camping grounds will now be closed to visitors.

This will be effective from 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020. 

The only people permitted to remain will be:

  • People who already have the caravan park registered as their primary place of residence; and
  • People staying in caravan parks as interim accommodation where their primary residence is not available (including those of no fixed address and people placed in emergency housing by DHHS).

These actions follow further restrictions on domestic and international travel, with all non-essential travel banned. 

It is important to reduce the risk of infection and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Victorian community. 

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 Baw Baw Shire transfer stations are currently not accepting cash, only EFTPOS payments.

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.