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Mayor calls for increased measures to support local business amid COVID-19 pandemic

25/03/2020

At the recommendation of Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene at Monday night’s Council meeting, Council resolved to take immediate action to help the local community and businesses cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Mayor Greene said that significant action has been taken to date to ensure the ongoing provision of services while protecting the health and wellbeing of staff and the community, and urged several new measures to be immediately adopted by Council.
 
“Our community, along with the rest of Australia, is facing extraordinary challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council needs to respond to do what it can to lessen the blow for our community,” said Mayor Greene.
 
“We know that many businesses and members of our community have been severely impacted by the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these numbers are only going to grow.

“The Australian and the NSW Governments have announced a number of initiatives to protect businesses and households from the economic downturn and loss of income, and there are actions that we can take at a local level now and in the future to cushion some of that impact.

“I am pleased to announce that the Council unanimously supported my recommendation that Council’s General Manager be authorised to introduce measures to assist businesses and the community to operate in a significantly modified environment. This may require a more flexible approach to ensure that businesses can adapt quickly to changing rules around social distancing and size of gatherings.
 
“This may include allowing businesses to provide take-away service where their development consent previously prevented this, relaxing enforcement of parking where possible, to allow increased take-away trading in shopping areas, and non-enforcement of trading and delivery hours for food, beverage and grocery stores necessary to maintain these essential services to our community.

“Council will also provide ongoing advice to the community about Council’s Debt Management and Hardship Policy and how to apply for deferred or staged payments, to support businesses as much as possible during these unprecedented times.
 
“The safety of our community and staff is our utmost priority and we are doing all we can to continue to deliver critical services for our community with minimal disruption over the coming weeks, while minimising risks associated with COVID-19 for our staff, stakeholders and residents,” added Mayor Greene.
 
The Council also supported Mayor Greene’s recommendation that the General Manager prepare a detailed report to Council on programs to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses and the community, including fees and charges, leases, licences, sports fields hire and other fees, and an approach to assist economic and social recovery after the pandemic has ended.
 
Council has enforced strict measures to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health of staff and community. 
 
Measures enforced by Council to minimise risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic include:
  • Council is urging people to carry out transactions with Council via our website or by phoning our call centre staff on 9330 6400
  • If you need to make a payment to Council, please do so online via our ‘Rates and Payments’ page at www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/Council/Rates-and-Payments or over the phone on 9330 6400
  • Social distancing has been introduced to the Customer Service Centres and staff only areas and notices are provided to customers before they enter
  • Closure of the Hurstville Aquatic Leisure Centre, San Souci Leisure Centre, Hurstville Entertainment Centre, Hurstville Museum & Gallery, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium and the Norm O’Neill Cricket Training Facility
  • Closure of Libraries from 5.00pm 25 March 2020. Most library services (home library service, borrowing, unlimited online renewals, e-resources online and Wi-Fi) remain available. For more information on online services go to georgesriver.overdrive.com
  • Activating Council’s Business Continuity Plan and cancelling events, gatherings, community engagement workshops and ANZAC Day services
  • Closing the Senior Citizens Centre to minimise risks to some of the most vulnerable members of out community
  • Closure of Justice of the Peace services
  • Our childcare centres continue to operate with the usual high quality educational programming and play activities and  enhanced cleansing regimes
  • Operational modifications at Beverley Park Golf Club have been enforced to comply with directives from the Federal Government
  • Assessment of requests for rental reduction and fee waivers has commenced
  • Supermarket delivery times have been relaxed
  • Intensive cleansing programs have been implemented in all areas and across Council facilities and venues
  • Non-essential meetings with external customers/clients have been cancelled or converted to an online meeting
  • Continuity planning for essential and non-essential services is revised daily
  • Restricting attendance by the public at all Council and Planning Panel meetings
  • Non-essential Council staff are working from home where possible
Council continues to closely monitor advice from the Australian Government and NSW Health and will make any additional modifications to its business operations as required. For more information on Georges River Council’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au or call 9330 6400.
 
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