Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) - Community Information

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The information below is current as of 7 April 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 in person 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?

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.

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.

 

Current restrictions

The most important message for all Victorians is to stay at home and avoid all gatherings of people. This minimises the chances of transmission, protects the health system and saves lives.

You should stay home except for getting essential items, medical care, exercise, going to work, education or for compassionate reasons. 

If you are in doubt about whether you should go out, go to the shops, take public transport, or let your children go on a play date – the simple answer is don’t.  

Please note, these restrictions are enforced by Victoria Police. If you are aware of any breaches of these restrictions, please call 131 444. 

 Here is an updated list of restrictions on businesses and individuals, in line with the government regulations.

Banned or closed:

  • Registered and licensed clubs, licensed premises in hotels and pubs, casinos and night clubs.

  • Cinemas and entertainment venues.

  • Auctions and open house inspections.

  • Personal services such as beauty therapy, tanning, massage and tattoo parlours (not including physiotherapy).

  • Outdoor and indoor markets.

  • Amusement parks and arcades, and indoor and outdoor play centres.

  • Galleries, museums, libraries and swimming pools.

  • Gyms and indoor sport venues.

  • Overseas travel, with some exceptions such as aid workers and compassionate travel.

Restricted activities:

  • Gatherings are restricted to no more than two people except for members of your immediate household and for work or education. 

  • All skate parks and public playgrounds are closed in Baw Baw Shire. 

  • Hairdressers and barbers can continue but must strictly manage social distancing.

  • Restaurants and cafes can offer delivery and takeaway only. Food courts in shopping centres may also only offer takeaway.

  • Weddings restricted to five people (the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses).

  • Funerals limited to no more than 10 people.

Remaining open:

  • Shopping centres and other shops not specifically told to close, including bottle shops.

  • Medical centres.

  • Pharmacies.

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

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. 

Kindergartens

There are several providers of kindergarten programs across Baw Baw Shire.

All YMCA-managed kindergartens are now closed, effectively beginning school holidays early. This means that children will not be attending these kindergartens for the remainder of the week and until further notice.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s provider directly for the most accurate information. We will update this information as soon as possible.

Kindergarten enrolment enquiries can be directed to 5624 2540.

Libraries

All libraries in Baw Baw Shire are closed, including the Northern Mobile Library.

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 also close until further notice. This includes take away options.

YMCA facilities

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

  • Warragul Leisure Centre
  • 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. 

Support for businesses

For advice, updates and support to help your business plan and respond to coronavirus, please go to the COVID-19 - Business Resources page.

Local businesses can contact Council’s Economic Development team to help navigate through all the information available, obtain the right assistance (from State and Federal Governments) and access other support resources. Businesses can call 1300 229 229 or email economic.development@bawbawshire.vic.gov.au

 

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

At this stage, transfer stations are operating as per normal operating hours.

Payments can only be made via EFT at this time, and no cash payments will be accepted.