Council’s Pandemic Response Plan is Activated

Our Shire’s Pandemic Response Plan has been activated, and Council’s internal Pandemic Response Working Group are proactively managing the organisation’s response to the current and potential impacts the Coronavirus may have on the way we live our day to day lives and the way in which we service our communities.

The focus of the working group’s efforts are to deliver holistic solutions to ensure that our community is in a strong position to respond to the challenges the current pandemic situation presents us.

“We are working towards protecting the health and well-being of our community and particularly our most vulnerable, our staff, councillors, volunteers etc by implementing a risk management framework that focusses on limiting the spread of the virus while maintaining our essential facilities, services and community programs” General Manager Liz Jeremy said.

“This approach provides us with the agility to introduce scalable options for the delivery of essential services and develop contingency arrangements in response to the evolving challenges we anticipate we will face as a community over the coming months.”

The working group is continually reviewing Council’s essential and non-essential services and revising current work schedules and practices to identify opportunities to maintain operational capacity in response to potentially reduced staff numbers, while complying with Federal and State Government advice and directives.

The service impacts that are in effect currently or that will come into effect from midnight Monday 23 March 2020 are as follows:

  • Customer Service Centre (Bellingen) will no longer be offering face to face contact with customers. Our community can still access the range of services and the majority of council related transactions traditionally available at Bellingen’s Customer Service Centre, over the phone or via email by simply calling Council on 66557300 or by emailing [email protected] Our Customer Service staff are here to support you in whatever way they can.
  • Libraries – Council’s three branch libraries in Urunga, Bellingen and Dorrigo will be closed. Staff are currently developing programs for click and collect for resources and once finalised, we will advise the community how they can access library resources.
  • Swimming Pools – Bellingen and Dorrigo Swim Centres will be closed for the rest of the season.
  • Waste Transfer Stations – no change to operations at this stage however all facilities havetransitioned to cashless payment options only.
  • Bowerhouse Re-use Centre – the Bowerhouse Re-Use centre at the Raleigh Waste Facility is nowclosed.
  • Bello Youth Hub
    • Suspension all non-essential programs and initiatives immediately. This includes youth chill-out(drop-in), art classes, music programs, dance classes etc.
    • Restriction on all non-essential room hires (non-essential meetings, groups, trainings, gatherings)

• Youth emergency support will continue to be provided:
o Over the phone (HUB phone 6655 0381)
o OnlinethroughtheHUB’ssocialmedia
o Direct at the HUB between 10am and 2pm, Tuesday to Fridays. o Throughanonline/phoneYouthWorkerreferralservice

• Dorrigo Support Centre – closed for normal operations however critical transport and supply operations to clients will continue with strict protocols.

All necessary social isolation and infection control procedures will be put in place across all council facilities and each service will continue to be monitored and altered should circumstances require it.

“I’d like to also take this opportunity to thank our community in advance for their patience and understanding as we transition some of our services and business practices so we can maintain our operational capacity for as long as possible and ensure we can support our community and local businesses.” General Manager Liz Jeremy said.

“Whilst we remain focused on our essential service delivery and the wellbeing of our staff and community, we are also working closely as a member of the Bellingen Shire Coronavirus Pandemic Response Group to ensure we are a resilient community that is prepared for the future challenges the Coronavirus presents us.”

“Finally, as we work through these challenging circumstances together, we will continue to provide our community with a one stop shop for information around the current pandemic and our actions in relation to services and community initiatives. Please go to Coronavirus Community Updates on the Bellingen Shire Council Create website (https://create.bellingen.nsw.gov.au/coronavirus-updates) to access the most up to date and accurate information” Ms Jeremy said.

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