Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group Mark Jamieson said our community needed to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and follow the instructions from our Federal and State authorities.
"In the wake of tighter public health restrictions announced last night, there are implications that will touch every member of our community in some way," Mayor Jamieson said.
"You only need to look at the stringent measures that have been put in place in the UK, the USA and other nations to understand what is likely to occur if we do not strictly follow the instructions around social distancing, personal hygiene and not congregating in large groups," Mayor Jamieson said.
"We are already seeing the rate of transmission accelerate in Queensland and Australia.
"The best health advice is that social distancing is the most effective tool available to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
"So I am saying to all residents of the Sunshine Coast – keep your distance from one another, act responsibly and safely and don't go out and congregate.
"Do it now, stay safe and think about the health and safety of those around you," Mayor Jamieson said.
In recognition of the rapidly evolving situation, the Sunshine Coast Local Disaster Management Group will move from ALERT to STAND UP status at 2pm today (23 March).
Council has today announced the following facilities will be closed from tomorrow in the interests of staff and community wellbeing and in line with the measures announced yesterday by the Australian Government:
· all Sunshine Coast Libraries,
· Bankfoot House at Glass House
· Caloundra Regional Gallery.
For information about other council facilities and services during this time, visit council's website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au. The website will be updated if changes are made to council's service delivery as a result of COVID-19 and will include information on how to contact council.
Council is encouraging residents to make use of our extensive e-Library services which provides many resources to keep the whole family entertained, including eBooks, comics, eNewspapers, magazines, audiobooks, movies and even music.
Residents can set up a free library membership via the Library website.
Council customer service centres
Council customer service centres remain open but we encourage residents to use the extensive online options available. If you need to make a payment, card payments are preferred. Cash payments will be accepted if customers have no alternative. If you need to make an animal payment at the Sippy Creek Animal Pound, card payments are preferred.
Council today released a further business support package.
"We know how important small businesses are to our Sunshine Coast economy and council has moved quickly to complement the stimulus provided by the Australian and Queensland Governments," Mayor Jamieson said.
Council will contact affected businesses to discuss the following additional support measures:
· Dedicated staff to assess temporary use permits
· Additional staff focused on building and plumbing approvals to ensure continuity of work/approvals· Relaxation of curfews in relation to deliveries of essential items to supermarkets/pharmacies
· Footpath/outdoor dining and trading permit fees (reimbursement or waiver from 1 March to 31 July)
· Food licensing fees (reimbursement or waiver from 1 March to 31 August)
· Community event and major event permit fees (reimbursement/refunds from 1 March to 30 June or ability to postpone for 12 months and bond refunded until new date set)
· Commercial low-use/commercial high use permits (reimbursement or waiver from 1 March to 31 July)
· Filming application fees (reimbursement or waiver from 1 March to 30 June)
· Venue hire (bookings) - refunds and waiver of normal cancellation fees at all Council venues from 16 March to 30 June
· Infrastructure charges can be deferred up to three years with no interest payment in the first 12 months
· Parking regulators will issue warnings instead of infringements in general unless the infringement relates to health and safety issues or parking in disabled parking spaces
· Paid parking waiver for Bulcock Street, Caloundra from 1 April to 30 June.
Business owners and operators are encouraged to visit the Business Support web page at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Business for up-to-date information.
Beaches across the Sunshine Coast remain open. Council is working closely with Surf Life Saving Queensland as the situation evolves.