Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) continues to take advice and guidance from the New South Wales Government (NSW Health) and the Federal Government (Department of Health) which are the lead agencies in this situation. Council is monitoring the situation to ensure an adequate response plan is in place for the community. Council is aware that information should weigh up the need to protect individuals from infection but also ensure essential services, business and communities can still operate on a viable level. Residents will be informed about any changes regarding the availability to Council services and facilities if and when the need arises, and as decisions are made in response to the evolving situation.
“Although there has been no confirmed cases in the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council local government area at this stage, rest assured, we have the safety of our people and our residents in the forefront of our response to this challenge” said Mayor Abb McAlister.
For accurate and consistent information on COVID 19 please refer to NSW Health – www.health.nsw.gov.au
We’ll keep you updated with any Council related matters on our website – www.cgrc.nsw.gov.au and through our media outlets.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you believe you may have contracted the COVID-19 virus ( returned travellers/had contact with a confirmed case/showing symptoms: fever, sore throat, dry cough and shortness of breath) you should:
– call HealthDirect 1800 022 222 or
– call the Murrumbidgee COVID-19 Hotline 1800 831 099 or
– contact/phone your GP, advise them in advance if you have symptoms
– If you are sick – stay away from others.
We can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and residents are reminded of what they can do:
Practice food, hand and sneeze/cough hygiene;
• wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
• cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and
• if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
Social distancing is an effective measure, but it is recognised that it cannot be practised in all situations and the aim is to generally reduce potential for transmission.
While practising social distancing, people can travel to work (including public transport). For non-essential activities outside the workplace or attendance at schools, universities and childcare – social distancing includes:
• avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
• avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
• attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out and about in public place.
• avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
• avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment
There is no need to bulk-buy products at supermarkets including toilet paper, paracetamol and canned food.
It is prudent for households to have a small stock of non-perishable groceries to cover the event that in the coming months the household has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days. However, it’s important to note the role of family and friends in supporting those in isolation.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay at home to prevent it spreading to other people.
You will be directed to stay at home if you may have been exposed to the virus – Recently travelled from overseas, or been in contact with someone who has the virus.
Staying at home means you:
• Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
• Ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
• Do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
• You do not need to wear a mask in your home. If you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.
• You should stay in touch by phone and on-line with your family and friends.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR COUNCIL
Residents are requested to rethink whether they need to come into Council offices for day to day transactions such as payments of rates, applications and general requests. Online options are available via Council’s website or Council can be contacted by phone 1300 459 689 or email firstname.lastname@example.org during office hours. For out of hours emergencies, residents can still contact Council by phone 1300 459 689.
If you are ill, please do not visit a Council venue.
WHAT COUNCIL IS DOING NOW
Work Health and Safety is paramount and must be at the forefront of everyone’s mind when responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. As far as reasonably practicable, workers, contractors, and other persons at the workplace are not to be put at risk from work carried out as part of the business of Council. Appropriate provisions for the management of our employees are being considered where necessary including special leave, workplace flexibility, exclusions, workplace closures, and redeployments. Should the need arise then Council is implementing plans to ensure the continuous delivery of essential services such as water supply, sewerage services and garbage collections.
Part of that plan has been the identification of critical staff and seeking agreement to work from alternate locations, in the event that a Council office needs to be shut down. Council is also ensuring that critical staff have the capacity to work from home if the need arises.
Council staff have implemented good personal hygiene practices.
Council staff are sanitising benches, keyboards and counters in public facing areas including customer service areas as appropriate.
Council staff have implemented additional cleaning within touchpoints of all public spaces.
Council will put into place enhanced handwashing reminders in all public facilities.
Council staff will be wearing gloves and/or using hand sanitiser when handling cash.
Councillors and Council Staff are not attending work related conferences or gatherings or participating in non-essential face to face meetings.
Council’s Health Officer will be contacting local cafes, eateries and food handlers to pass on advice regarding hygiene and safe food handling practices. For example outlets will be encouraged in the use of take away cups to limit the amount contact with customers. Contact details can be updated on these visits so that information received by Council from appropriate peek bodies is distributed to them as soon as possible. Street stalls and markets will be allowed to continue on a case by case basis, but will be subject to similar good practices being introduced or observed.
Council will relax regulations on outdoor dining spaces to enable restaurants and cafes to spread out tables and chairs to extend space and allow for social distancing. Food outlets are encouraged to contact Council Health Officer for more information.
CHANGES TO BUSINESS OPERATIONS – SERVICE INTERUPTIONS
It is noted that the latest directive from Government is that indoor gatherings are not to be held when exceeding 100 people, and outdoor gatherings are not to exceed 500 people.
Council is required to abide by this determination. Cancelling events and use of facilities is necessary, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Council encourages all community, social, cultural and sporting organisations that use Council facilities, to abide and suspend non-essential meetings and such gatherings until further notice.
Council are taking measures to reduce the risk to our most vulnerable members of the community. The elderly and frail. Council recognises that many of our volunteers across the region are in this high risk group and are working within our visitor service areas. Council is taking precaution, to protect our valuable volunteer workforce by temporarily closing these facilities immediately until further notice.
Facility closures include:
Cootamundra Heritage Centre
Events cancellations include:
ANZAC Day services across the region
The Gundagai Cup – Ladies Day
Cootamundra Vintage car event
Gundagai Community Wellbeing Day
Bling it On Charity Ball
Seniors Week activities
Youth Week activities
Council’s Outdoor Swimming Pools in Gundagai and Cootamundra are closed for the season.
Cootamundra’s heated pool will be closing to the public effective Monday 23rd March until further notice. The venue has been determined as a high risk area to control due to the large number of visitors and interaction with aged user groups.
Libraries in both centres will remain open at this stage, however some programs have been cancelled. Residents are reminded that a home delivery service is available. More information can be obtained by contacting the Libraries – Cootamundra on 6940 2200, and Gundagai on 6944 0270.
VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRES
The visitor information centre at Gundagai remains open to the general public at this time, as staffed by Council employees. Online options are available for most services. Please use the website where possible – http://www.visitgundagai.com.au/
The visitor information centre at Cootamundra is closed, as staffed by volunteers. Please use the website – https://www.visitcootamundra.com.au/
For more information please visit the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council Website or NSW Department of Health