Orange City Council responds to COVID-19 crisis, over-the-counter payments suspended

By March 19, 2020 March 24th, 2020 COVID-19, News

Orange City Council will continue to adapt to the developing COVID-19 situation with a focus on service delivery, CEO David Waddell said today.

COVERAGE UPDATE:

This coverage has been updated by a more recent news item.

See the latest coverage here.


 

“We are changing how we work so we can keep operating and delivering services. This is an ever changing challenge but our attention is on community and staff health and safety while  continuing to meet community needs,” Mr Waddell said. “We have 500 staff and they are part of 500 families so we are very much part of and working for the community.”

“The senior leadership of Orange City Council is continuing to monitor the unfolding impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis, as it has since the issue first emerged.”

Orange City Council CEO, David Waddell

Plans are in place so that essential services can continue to be provided for the community.

Across the organisation, we are complying with the recommendations of health and government authorities, and monitoring changes as they are made. We are in touch with local health authorities as day to day decisions are made.

In a key decision today, the council will cease all over-the-counter financial transactions at the Civic Centre and most council agencies. This is to minimise the risk of infection via cash or card transactions.

All financial payments will need to be made online or via contactless card transactions where possible.

Rates, Water Rates or Debtors payments can be made by:

  • BPay
  • Online at our website via credit card
  • Call us on 6393 8000 with credit card details
  • Send a cheque to PO Box 35
  • At Australia Post

Mr Waddell said Council was ensuring it complied with the government’s requirements to limit the number of people at indoor locations.

“As well as essential services, a number of council agencies provide meeting places and facilities that will continue to be important in supporting community members through this crisis. For that reason, Orange City Council staff are aiming to keep facilities such as the Library, Aquatic Centre and child care centres open,” Mr Waddell said.

Council encourages residents to follow NSW Health advice on social distancing.  When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed. This helps protect the most vulnerable members of the community and reduces the impact of the pandemic on essential, life-saving health services.

“Across the board, it’s important to remember it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the places our community gathers are healthy and safe. It is even more important than ever that people choose not to come to these places if they are experiencing cold or flu like symptoms,” Mr Waddell said.

It’s also important to maintain an increased level of hygiene (handwashing, covering coughs/sneezes). Council staff are also placing an increased emphasis on hygiene, including extra disinfection of surfaces.

“At each of these facilities, we are adjusting normal routines in order to comply with health recommendations,” Mr Waddell said.

“For example, the Orange City Library has moved public personal computers to be at a metre and a half apart to increase social distancing. The plastic cover of every book is being wiped with disinfectant when it’s returned to the library after borrowing, and keyboards are being routinely wiped.”

Council Child Care centres will only close for cleaning if someone had been on the premises that had been diagnosed of having COVID-19, before re-opening when it is deemed safe to do so.

The Aquatic Centre is crediting fees for Learn to Swim classes if parents choose to withdraw their children. All Council agency staff such as the Child Care Centre and Aquatic Centre employees are keeping their communities in touch about local arrangements.

“It’s clear we’re going to be living with this situation for a while, and for that reason it’s important we manage these decisions thoughtfully and responsibly,” Mr Waddell said.

“In a situation like this, it can’t be business as usual, but we’ll be doing our level best to provide council services, and we’ll continue to monitor the situation. If authorities respond to new  evidence with new recommendations, we will respond promptly.”

“We understand that people who routinely use Council services will want to know more about what’s happening, and we’re committed to continuing to meet that need for information.”

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