Ararat Council announced it will close some services and make changes to others until further notice to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said in a statement that it was paramount for the Council to protect the health and welfare of residents at this time.
"Ararat Rural City Council has not taken this decision lightly but we need to ensure the community is protected from the spread of COVID-19," Dr Harrison said.
"After taking advice from officials, temporarily closing down services where people gather in groups and come into contact with each other is one very important step Council can take.
"Council is continuing to take advice from State and Federal Government departments, East Grampians Health Service and the Municipal Association of Victoria, who are all working together on a coordinated response to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus."
Dr Harrison said Ararat Rural City Council services that will close to the public until further notice are:
- Customer service centre at the 59 Vincent Street office - residents can still email via firstname.lastname@example.org and telephone on 5355 0200.
- Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre
- Ararat Regional Library
- Ararat Fitness Centre
- Ararat Town Hall
- Ararat Gallery TAMA (Textile Art Museum Australia)
Dr Harrison said people who have Ararat Fitness Centre memberships or have bought tickets to shows at the Ararat Town Hall, would be contacted directly regarding these.
He said there will also be changes to other council services including:
Ararat Transfer Station will operate on reduced hours - weekdays as per the regular opening hours, Saturdays from 12-5pm, and closed Sundays. Refer to www.ararat.vic.gov.au/property-development/environment- waste/transfer-stations-landfill.
The Ararat and Grampians Visitor Information Centre:
Centre doors will be open to the public, who will be able to collect brochures and maps, and use facilities, but the centre will be unstaffed.
Meals on Wheels:
This service will continue but will be staffed by Council staff members instead of volunteers.
Staff will be in constant contact with clients to ensure their health, wellbeing and safety are maintained.
Business Networking Breakfast:
The breakfast, scheduled for next Wednesday 25 March, has been cancelled.
Kerbside waste collections:
The waste collections continue unaffected. The Ararat Rural City Council meeting scheduled to be held Tuesday 17 March, will go ahead as scheduled without a public gallery.
Dr Harrison said many local events and festivals organised by community members and volunteer groups over the next six weeks have also been cancelled in light of a federal government ban on large gatherings.
He said Council supported event organisers in the difficult decision they have had to make, and said Council officers will help them through this challenging time.
Event organisers can phone Council's Community and Event Co-ordinator Robyn Hemley on 0427 051 562.
"The State and Federal Governments have instigated a very well-coordinated public health response to COVID-19 and we know this will stand us in good stead for what lies ahead," he said.
"We encourage the community to stay calm and keep informed about the virus through official government channels, which are the most accurate source of information."
State Government websites with information and advice about Coronavirus include:
The Federal Government website with information and advice about Coronavirus:
If you suspect you may have Covid-19, the State Government encourages people to call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.
The Federal Government's Coronavirus hotline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be phoned on 1800 020 080.
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