Mid Murray Council response measures to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a global crisis, and our Council has a key role to play in limiting the spread and impact of it.

Council is monitoring the situation very closely, and our primary focus is to protect the health of our community members, visitors and staff and to help minimise the spread of COVID-19. Evidence from around the world has shown that pre-emptive measures are extremely effective in containing the spread of the disease.

Our leaders are staying up to date on the latest advice from the State and Federal Governments, and relevant Government health agencies.

We are encouraging our residents to also play their part – observe stricter personal hygiene and social distancing, stay away from public places if you’re unwell, be respectful to our staff and others working under stressful conditions and look out for the vulnerable members of your community.

Our key objectives are to:

* Reduce and contain the impact of the disease

* Maintain a healthy workforce

* Provide leadership to the community

* Keep residents and business informed about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it

We encourage residents and the community to:

* Remain calm

* Follow all State and Federal Government advice

* Implement social distancing measures, but not social isolation

* Look out for each other, check on your neighbours and provide assistance where necessary

It is important to remember, this is an extremely dynamic situation and events are changing daily.

Council services

Effective 30 March 2020, the Mid Murray Council has updated a range of measures to its operations. These measures are in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the health and safety of its staff and the community, while providing the continuity of vital local services.

Details of this are set out below:

Can I come to the Council office?

Yes. However - Council is encouraging ratepayers and residents who need to access a service, have an enquiry or pay a bill - to do so online, over the phone or by email if possible and practicable. Council requests that anyone who is feeling unwell does NOT attend its facilities in person, and even for those that are feeling well should follow hygiene and social distancing protocols.

The Blanchetown Community Hub will have a reduction in opening hours from 9am Monday, 30 March. The Hub will be restricted to opening from 10am to 2pm on Thursdays only, with access to general council services and Centrelink services. The internet café and library services will not be available, in line with the Federal Government’s restrictions on these services.

Meetings?

All non-essential face to face meetings will be cancelled or postponed. Staff instead will use phone or video meeting and conferencing alternatives where possible and practicable. Essential meetings will require increased hygiene measures including observing social distancing.

How can I pay my rates or make a payment?

Cashless payments are preferred at all Council facilities, including offices and transfer stations. Online and phone payment options are also available. Find out more about these options here.

Are our libraries still open?

Due to the latest Federal Government restrictions, Mid Murray libraries were closed to the general public from 9am Thursday, 26 March. Borrowers who already have items on loan will not be required to return them until services resume.

School libraries will continue to operate during school hours for access by students and staff only.

The Morgan and Districts Community Hub and the Blanchetown Community Hub will continue to offer Council customer service functions, but will no longer be conducting library services including collections or returns.

The delivery of books to private addresses has also been stopped until further notice.

Library users can find a range of digital materials including ebooks, newspapers, magazines, audiobooks and more available online via the Libraries SA website.

Are our pools still open?

The Mannum and Cambrai pools have closed to the general public for the season, effective 9am, Tuesday, 24 March.

What about playgrounds, parks and reserves?

All playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms in the Mid Murray district are closed from Monday, 30 March in line with the Federal Government’s restrictions. Signage will be placed at these sites in coming days.

While our parks and reserves are still open for exercise, people are reminded of the Federal Government’s limit on two people per social gathering (with exemptions for members of the same household).

Are our transfer stations open?

Yes. Council will maintain usual transfer station opening hours, with electronic payment available as the preferred payment method. Residents are also encouraged to minimise their visitation to the transfer stations where possible.

Are Visitor Information Centres open?

The Mannum Visitor Information Centre and Morgan Visitor Information Office are closed to the general public, effective from 9am, Tuesday, 24 March. Both centres will still be contactable daily via phone and email, within reduced hours of operation from 10am to 3pm.

Visitor information can be found online at www.mannum.org.auvisitmorgan.com.au or www.mid-murray.sa.gov.au.

The Mannum Visitor Information Centre can be contacted on 8569 1303 and email mannumvic@psmarion.com. The Morgan Visitor Information Office can be contacted by phone on 8540 2643 or email jwood@mid-murray.sa.gov.au

What about our public toilets and other facilities?

As part of Council’s ongoing response to reduce the public health risk to our community, and on advice from the State and Federal Governments, several public toilets across the district have been temporarily be closed.

Toilets and barbecue facilities at all Council-operated campgrounds have been closed since 9am, Wednesday, 1 April.

This follows the first stage of toilet closures in the district undertaken last week. More toilet closures may also follow in coming weeks due to fewer visitor numbers, increased challenges in Council sourcing the necessary hygiene and cleaning supplies, and increased incidents of vandalism and theft from public toilets.

The closure of these toilets will allow Council staff to focus on keeping the remaining amenities open, while providing a high standard of cleanliness. Signage will be placed on all affected facilities directing visitors to the closest open amenities.

The Mannum Dock Museum, Landseer Museum in Morgan and Morgan Craft Shop have all closed, effective 9am Tuesday, 24 March.

All of Council’s volunteer programs have also been suspended indefinitely in order to protect our volunteers and prioritise their health and safety at this time.

Can I hire a Council venue for a meeting or event?

All casual, non-essential hire of Council managed facilities for meetings and events has been cancelled in line with the Federal Government’s new restrictions on indoor gatherings. This does not apply to medical services that hire these facilities. Anyone with an outstanding booking at these sites will be contacted by Council.

Under the Federal Government’s new restrictions, community groups who lease other Council facilities will also be required to cancel hire arrangements for meetings or other public gatherings.

Will monthly Council meetings still go ahead?

The next monthly Council meeting is scheduled for 21 April 2020 and will go ahead as scheduled with additional hygiene and precautionary measures in place.

Is the Mannum Leisure Centre open?

The Mannum Leisure Centre closed to the general public at 12pm on Monday, 23 March in line with new restrictions implemented by the Federal Government.

I’m struggling financially. Will I have to pay my rates?

Council understands the community’s anxiety about financial impacts given the economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are currently reviewing our existing Hardship Policy in relation to rates relief, as well as other options for possible financial assistance to our residents and businesses. No decision has been made at this stage, and we will communicate any changes to the community as soon as they occur.

What about campsites and holiday travel?

All Council operated campgrounds were closed to the public from 9am, Wednesday, 1 April. All public toilets and barbecues at these sites are also closed. Campgrounds at Bolto Reserve and Haythorpe Reserve have been closed to the public since Thursday, 26 March.

The SA Government has also closed accommodation and campgrounds in SA’s national parks, from Friday, 27 March.

People are urged to avoid any non-essential travel plans, including holiday travel planned for the Easter long weekend and school holiday break.

Much of our district is closed – including many public toilets, playgrounds, public barbecues, shops, pubs, cafes, visitor information hubs and tourist attractions.

Many tourism accommodation operators have closed, or are implementing strict restrictions including opening only for essential travellers.

SA Police will be patrolling popular camping areas to ensure people are complying with the Federal Government’s restrictions on public gatherings and safe distances, and Council staff will be enforcing penalties for any breaches.

Fines can apply where individuals breach the safe-distance requirements. For more information on the Government’s restrictions visit the SA Health website.

Community

Community events and activities

Several community events have been cancelled or postponed to minimise the spread of the virus, including Anzac Day commemorations in Mannum, Swan Reach and Morgan (stay up to date on Facebook). Council is also working closely with community groups and encouraging all non-essential community events to be cancelled or postponed.

Should my sporting club carry on with its season?

Most regional sporting events and programs are being cancelled or postponed. However, we suggest following the advice of your sports State Sporting Organisation authority (ie. SANFL, Netball SA, Cricket SA, Tennis SA etc).

Staff / Volunteers

What are you doing to protect Council staff health and well-being?

A number of steps have been taken to protect Council staff’s health and well-being. Non-essential meetings are being rescheduled and staff will be given the opportunity, where possible, to work remotely. Council will maintain a core level of staffing at each site to ensure operations continue to run and services to the community are maintained. We also have extra measures in place at our sites and facilities to support a clean, safe and well-sanitised environment. Any staff member presenting with cold/flu-like symptoms will be sent home immediately in accordance with government and health agencies advice and direction.

What about Council volunteers?

With over 300 volunteers, many of whom are within vulnerable groups, Council is mindful of the safety and well-being of all who assist in its programs, facilities and services. We have now suspended all volunteer programs to protect our volunteers from the risk of infection.

Important information

Where can I find out more about COVID-19?

The State and Federal Governments have dedicated resources to provide up-to-date and accurate information to the community.

The Australian Government’s Department of Health COVID-19 website can be found here:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

SA Health have an online portal set up with information for individuals, business, health workers and every other interest group. Follow the link here:

https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/novel+coronavirus

Where can I get testing for COVID-19?

Council is urging anyone who has travelled overseas or demonstrating symptoms to check the Australian Government’s self-isolation requirements online (www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert) and for the community as a whole to observe stringent personal hygiene practices and social distancing.

Should I send my child to school/childcare?

We suggest following the advice provided by your school or centre – they each have management plans for scenarios such as this and if closures occur, they will be in line with policies set by the schools themselves, or by the Department for Education and Child Services and the Federal Government. For updates, see here: https://www.education.sa.gov.au/supporting-students/health-e-safety-and-wellbeing/coronavirus

What should I do if I am feeling unwell?

If you are severely unwell, such as having difficulty breathing, call 000 (Triple Zero).

If you have travelled overseas in the past 14 days and/or have COVID-19 symptoms, seek medical advice and isolate yourself in line with current Government advice and guidelines.

If you are feeling unwell, contact your usual health care provider and avoid contact with others.

Mental health support

If you feel your mental wellbeing is being impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis, support services are available online at:

Lifeline

Beyond Blue

SA Health

Relationships Australia

More information

Contact the National Coronavirus Information Hotline on 1800 020 080 for information about COVID-19.

Avoiding COVID-19

COVID-19 Flowchart

Identifying the Symptoms

NOTE: Council will continue to update this information and provide updates via our Facebook page and local media publications. Information will also be displayed at our offices.

Last updated 11am - 1 April 2020

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