As we move towards the next round of COVID-19 restrictions lifting on 22 June, we all have a responsibility to know the rules set out to keep everyone safe.
It was wonderful over the Queen's Birthday long weekend to see so many visitors returning to our region and business in places like Halls Gap doing a roaring trade.
However, I urge everyone to make sure we are keeping our distance from each other as much as we can to ensure we are doing everything to protect each other from the spread of Coronavirus.
Locals and visitors alike must be aware of the current rules and regulations in regards to social distancing and other preventative measures and make sure we are all following the guidelines.
The coronavirus pandemic has been tough for a lot of our local businesses and we need people to visit the region to ensure our shops, cafes, and accommodation providers remain open.
To do this, every single one of us can help keep these regulations lifted by being socially responsible and virus aware wherever we go.
Stay 1.5 metres away from each other, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitiser often, wear a mask in public - all these things help in the fight against coronavirus.
If you go out to Halls Gap and there is a line of people waiting at the cafe, don't add to the crowd and make sure you are keeping your distance while waiting.
If the gardens in St Arnaud are packed with people, find some of the historical treasures in other, less-crowded, parts of the town.
We are not out the woods with this virus yet and the best defence we have against spreading it any further is to ensure we aren't getting too close to other people while out and about and making sure we wash our hands regularly and get tested if needed.
Businesses are doing what they can to limit people in indoor spaces, putting markings on their floors, installing plastic guards and more so it is up to all of us as customers and patrons to make sure we are following these directions.
It may be an inconvenience and service at some businesses might take a little longer but that is a small price to pay for protecting the health and wellbeing of our community.
Cr Murray Emerson, Mayor - Northern Grampians Shire Council
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