COVID-19: Council Update
The health of our community, Council's employees and volunteers is Golden Plains Shire Council's top priority.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Golden Plains Shire Council has implemented a number of changes to its operations to reduce the risks to residents, staff and volunteers.
As the situation evolves, further changes will be posted on Council’s website and social media, with weekly updates on the Council News page in the Golden Plains Times. For any questions, please call Customer Service at 5220 7111.
For information on how communities can still come together in spirit and encourage kindness and support during this unprecedented crisis, visit BE KIND GOLDEN PLAINS
Changes to Council’s Services: Current as of Tuesday 4 August, 2020
On Sunday, the Victorian Government announced regional Victoria, including Golden Plains Shire Council will return to Stage Three restrictions in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state.
Under Stage Three restrictions, residents must stay home, and only leave the house for: food and essential supplies; medical, care or compassionate needs; exercise in compliance with gathering restrictions; and work or study if it cannot be done from home.
From 5pm, Wednesday 5 August, Council’s Bannockburn and Smythesdale Customer Service Centres will close for face-to-face interactions until at least Sunday 13 September. Customers will still be able to contact the Customer Service team during this time by:
Residents who use Council's sharps containers collection and drop-off service in Bannockburn and require sharps containers, are encouraged to contact Council’s Customer Service team on 5220 7111 to discuss new arrangements.
Essential services of Council that require physical contact including immunisation, Maternal and Child Health Services, Delivered Meals (Meals on Wheels), childcare, Community Care, and food safety inspections will continue to operate on a priority basis and subject to staff availability.
In line with the Victorian Government's requirement that all Victorians over 12 years must wear face coverings outside their home from 11.59pm, Sunday 2 August, 2020, all Council staff will wear supplied face masks and all visitors, contractors and clients must wear face coverings at all Council locations.
There are some exemptions under Department of Health and Human Service guidelines including:
* Exemption for educators: It is not compulsory for teachers, educators and carers to wear face coverings while teaching or caring for children as the covering can interfere with their ability to clearly communicate with students. Teachers, educators and carers can choose to wear masks if they wish when in the classroom/ facility or when teaching or providing care for children.
Please note: teachers, educators and carers will wear masks in other areas of the school/ facility when not teaching.
* Exemption while driving or in a vehicle alone, and this includes when in a plant machine with an enclosed cabin. When travelling in a car with other people who are not your family members, masks are required to be worn. If travelling, please remember to have a face covering available, as it is mandatory when leaving the vehicle.
* Exemption during emergency situations.
* Face masks may be removed when eating and drinking. Please ensure you maintain 1.5m separation from others during this time and keep mask at hand to wear immediately afterwards.
Maternal and Child Health
As allowed by the Victorian Government under the new restriction of home visits in Golden Plains Shire, Council’s Maternal and Child Health Nurses will also continue to attend homes visits, as required, wearing face masks and with additional COVID controls in place.
Council’s Maternal and Child Health Service continues with modified service delivery from all its centres including Smythesdale, Teesdale, Inverleigh, Meredith, Rokewood and the Bannockburn Family Services Centre, adhering to health and hygiene recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services. In order to continue to provide services to families, Council's Maternal and Child Health services have adopted a variety of modes of service delivery, including telephone, electronic consultations, as well as face-to-face appointments. Families with a scheduled appointment will receive a text message containing information on the time and mode of the visit. Unfortunately Drop-In sessions have ceased until further notice, however first time parents groups have resumed electronically.
Golden Plains Shire Council Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs continue to be reviewed to ensure community and staff safety with respect to COVID-19. From Monday 3 August, there will be some changes to the services in response to COVID-19; these changes will be reviewed as required. Council's MCH service will prioritise essential services for families with 0 to 18-month-old babies, and for families who require additional support.
- Health screening will occur - families will be called on the morning of appointment day; unwell clients will be required to partake in a phone consultation only, rescheduling the physical assessment to a later date as required.
- At the agreed appointment time, families will be asked to arrive at the centre car park and wait in their car for the nurse to phone. Telehealth consultation will be conducted at this time.
- Following telephone discussion, the nurse will provide an opportunity to attend in the centre for a brief face to face child assessment. Please do not bring prams due to the time restraints.
- While in the centre, primary carer will be required to wear a face mask or covering (supplied if required). Nurses will also be wearing face masks. Universal precautions are being practiced at all visits
- Home visiting (supported by phone consultations) will continue for all newborn babies and those who require it, with recommended personal protection equipment (as per DHHS guidelines).
- Children who are due for 2-year-old and 3.5-year-old Key Age and Stage visita are being postponed for a month or so unless parents/carers have urgent developmental concerns. Please contact us to reschedule a future appointment or be placed on a list by calling 5220 7230. Alternatively families can make contact later in the year to receive this service.
- Please call 5220 7230 for any questions relating to the MCH service
For more information on changes to service delivery or to book an appointment, call 5220 7230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The 24-hour MCH Line is available on 13 22 29.
Bannockburn Family Services Centre
The Bannockburn Family Services Centre is temporarily closed to groups and non-essential services. Bannockburn Children’s Service continues to operate long day care. Maternal and Child Health appointments are available at Bannockburn and Smythesdale with modified service delivery, adhering to health and hygiene recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services including separate entry points. Questions? Call 5220 7230 or email email@example.com
Active Ageing and Disability Services
As allowed by the Victorian Government under the new restriction of home visits in Golden Plains Shire, Council’s HACC team will continue to provide personal care services in Golden Plains Shire homes, wearing face masks and with additional COVID controls in place. Council’s Maternal and Child Health Nurses will also continue to attend homes visits, as required.
Council’s Active Ageing and Disability Service is continuing to provide support to the community through delivered meals, essential community transport, personal care and limited domestic assistance. Continued essential services to high need, vulnerable clients includes providing support to clients to attend medical appointments and shopping for essential food items for clients with no ‘natural supports’ (no family, friend or other to assist them and they can’t access themselves). Domestic Assistance continues for clients who have on-going respiratory/ chronic health conditions and have no natural supports.
Respite Services and Social Support Programs have been suspended. To minimise the impact of isolation, Council's team is keeping in regular contact with clients and where possible will call for social support which may include doing newspaper quiz together, chatting about a TV series the client and worker have in common or just taking the time to get to know the client better.
Council is also experiencing an increase in requests for delivered meals and immediate food relief; and have developed a partnership with Smythesdale IGA who retained stock for Council to purchase products for relief packs including toilet paper, sugar, pasta etc., and then home delivered two orders for community members in need. This partnership will continue as the need arises.
Rokewood Transfer Station: Open
Council's Rokewood Resource Recovery Centre reopened on Sunday 31 May. In line with Federal and State Government guidelines, social distancing and health and hygiene practises are in place at the site. Customers are strongly encouraged to pay by card, however cash payment will still be accepted. The centre is open every Sunday, 10am to 3pm. Council's waste collection service has continued unchanged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden Plains Farmers' Market
The Golden Plains Farmers' Market is currently not operating due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. Council is working on a plan of how to resume the market safely within guidelines. In the meantime, don't forget you can contact many of your favourite stallholders through the Golden Plains Virtual Farmers' Market here.
Changes to Council’s Facilities: Current as of Tuesday 4 August, 2020
Playgrounds, Skate Parks, Bike Parks and Sporting Facilities: Closed
In line with Stage Three restrictions, playgrounds, skate parks, stadiums and change and club rooms at recreation facilities in Golden Plains Shire will be closed from 11.59pm, Wednesday 5 August until at least Sunday 13 September.
In line with Stage Three restrictions, campgrounds in Golden Plains Shire will be closed from 11.59pm, Wednesday 5 August until at least Sunday 13 September. Residents and visitors cannot access the following back country camping locations: Inverleigh – Leigh River South; Pollocksford Bridge; Bunjil Lookout; Smythesdale Public Gardens; and Haddon Lions Park.
Community Centres: Closed
In line with Stage Three restrictions, community centres in Golden Plains Shire will be closed from 11.59pm, Wednesday 5 August until at least Sunday 13 September. These locations are the Bannockburn Cultural Centre, The Well in Smythesdale and Meredith Community Centre.
Changes to Council Events, Engagements and Programs: Current as of Tuesday 4 August, 2020
The Bannockburn Library, 25-27 High Street, and Mobile Library Services delivered by Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) will close from end of day, Wednesday 5 August for at least six weeks. From Wednesday 12 August, GRLC will operate a Click and Deliver service in Golden Plains Shire for members to select 20 items to be home-delivered with no contact. For more information on this service, visit grlc.vic.gov.au.
Until further notice, all scheduled meetings of Council are accessible to the public via the livestream on Council's YouTube channel. For more information on Council Meetings, visit https://www.goldenplains.vic.gov.au/residents/my-council/about-council/meetings-minutes-and-agenda
Support for Business
Recognising that these restrictions are having a devastating impact on business and the economy, both Federal and State Governments have introduced a range of support and assistance packages for businesses.
For a listing of where businesses can go for information, resources and support in relation to COVID-19, visit goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/covid-19-business-support.
In addition to creating this information resource, Council’s Investment Attraction and Business Support team have also been busy: checking-in on businesses to see how they have been impacted; sending business support e-newsletters; developing a business listing of those businesses still operating for Council’s website; providing regular updates to State and Federal Governments on the impact to Golden Plains businesses; and working on making Council’s small business training/mentoring programs remotely accessible.
Golden Plains Shire Council has confirmed the following financial support measures for local business, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Introduction of a Special COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy for local businesses
- Commitment to pay invoices from all local businesses within 14 days to support cash flow
- Extension of time applications for business-related septic tank and planning permits expiring before 30 September 2020 can be lodged at no cost
- Refund of all permit fees for events and activities that have been cancelled or closed as directed by Government
- New allowance for commercial businesses to reduce their waste collection arrangements if necessary
- Free mentoring support for small businesses experiencing hardship
- Free promotion of local businesses on Council’s website and social media with Be Kind to Business campaign: goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/be-kind-business
- Dedicated COVID-19 business support page on Council's website with links to Federal and State Government programs: goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/covid-19-business-support
- Access to dedicated business support officer within Council for local businesses to receive individual assistance
- Council will continue budgeted capital works as scheduled to maximise local business and employment opportunities
If you would like further information or to talk through your situation, please contact Council’s Investment Attraction & Business Support Team on 5220 7111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and Advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
With a lot of attention in the media and online on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), residents may be unsure where to get the most up-to-date information from the health authorities.
The Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services has information and guidance on the current outbreak of coronavirus, which will be updated as the situation evolves. You can access this information and guidance at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
The Department has also prepared information on ways to reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus. One of the best things residents can do every day to stop the spread of viruses like coronavirus is to practice excellent hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette. Residents can source information, including posters at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19.
If you have concerns about your health, it's best to contact your GP, or if you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep 000 for emergencies only.
Residents who have recently returned from overseas can also find information and advice at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19.