COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

The health and safety of our staff and community is Huon Valley Council’s number one priority and we are actively taking measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also supporting well-being and resilience in our communities through the our recovery program. For all the latest COVID-19 updates see www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au or call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 677 738.

With Tasmania’s borders now open we have made changes to the way we operate some of our services. This is ultimately to keep our community safe and for our services to continue to operate. We ask for your cooperation and understanding as we start this new journey together.

All our departments have their own COVID-19 Safety Plans in place to manage the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission and to protect the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, contractors and customers.

When using all our services we ask that you comply with national and state public health directions and follow simple but effective physical distancing and hygiene measures such as:

  • Wear a mask (as of 12.01am Tuesday 21 December it is mandatory to wear a mask in public indoor places (see www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au for the exact details)
  • Stay home if unwell
  • Check in
  • Wash and sanitise hands
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5m.

 

Medical Centres

  • Geeveston Medical Centre – ALL visitors to the medical centre MUST wear a mask (as of Tuesday 21 December).
  • Dover Medical Centre – ALL visitors to the medical centre MUST wear a mask.

If you have any respiratory symptoms, please let us know prior to entering the centres.

 

Childcare Centres

Our childcare centres will remain fully operational with the following changes:

  • A new drop and collect zone has been implemented. Our educators will meet you and collect or hand over children from the front entry veranda. Our staff will be wearing masks when interacting with adults. If you are required to enter the premise you will be asked to wear a mask.

 

  • We ask that only one parent or carer attends the service with children. Before being signed into care a temperature check of child/ren will be completed and any children with visible signs of illness will not be permitted into care.

Stay at home if you are unwell. If you or your child has a sore throat, runny nose or fever please do not attend the service. Please allow some extra time at drop off and collection for these changes to be implemented. We also ask for your patience over the coming day as staff at our centres implement this new routine.

 

Customer Service

The Customer Service area will be responsive to any Public Health directions. We will be asking you to check in. If you appear unwell, we will ask that you do business with us either via phone or electronic communication. You will need to maintain physical distancing of 1.5m. We would like to limit the use of cash and encourage the use of Eftpos transactions.

 

Outdoor Staff

When approaching our workers in the field please maintain physical distancing of 1.5m.

 

Recreations Facilities

Our recreation facilities (Port Huon Sports Centre, Cygnet Sports Centre and Huonville Swimming Pool) will remain fully operational with the following changes:

  • Huonville Swimming Pool: early morning lap swimming will be extended to include a third morning to reduce congestion (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6.30am-8.30am)
  • Port Huon Sports Centre: sauna usage must be prebooked, strictly half hour sessions and no more than three people per booking.

Please maintain occupancy limits in the changerooms and always follow physical distancing and hygiene measures. We encourage Eftpos transactions at both centres.

 

Community Development

For the time being, we are not changing our level of service, but have in place COVID-safe measures. We welcome everyone to our activities, events and venues and ask you to follow our COVID-safe measures and follow public health directions and guidelines. When attending events and activities you will be asked to wear a mask if it is hard to maintain physical distancing or in poorly ventilated spaces. (e.g. ARTBOX).

If, in the future, we are unable to run some of our activities or open our venues we will always be available at the end of the phone or via email. Please call us and ask for the Community Development Team.

 

Waste Services

Our facilities will remain fully operational. We ask that you comply with national and state public health directions and follow physical distancing and hygiene measures and we encourage the use of Eftpos transactions.

 

We will continue to respond to the local conditions and direction from Public Health so please be understanding of any last-minute changes. The Australian and Tasmanian Governments are constantly updating the status of COVID-19, including operating restrictions, health recommendations, travel restrictions, resources and information to help people make informed decisions. Please visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to receive all the latest information.

For local updates please visit our website and follow us on our social media channels.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

 

Useful resources:

For the latest State Government information on COVID-19 in Tasmania, visit coronavirus.tas.gov.au

 

Printable resources:

For a range of print-friendly posters, flyers and fact sheets please go to coronavirus.tas.gov.au/resources.

 

Mental health support:

If you are feeling distressed, seek support:

More mental health resources are available on coronavirus.tas.gov.au.

For individuals, families and community

Protect yourself, protect others

Protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, maintaining physical distancing when you go out, and downloading the COVIDSafe app.

Call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to be tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.

Physical distancing must be strictly observed at all times, and people are asked to move on once they have completed their exercise. If a park or walkway is busy, please come back another time or try another area.

Support for individuals and the community

The Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 is the main point of contact for the Tasmanian community on the coronavirus pandemic.

Older Australians can call the National COVID Older Persons Information Line on 1800 171 866 to speak to friendly, specially trained staff from a senior’s advocacy organisation.

Emergency support is available for vulnerable and low-income Tasmanians, including those who need to self-isolate but are unable to stay at their normal place of residence or are homeless.

A number of Huon Valley food relief services, social workers and community groups are available by phone to provide support to those who need it while limiting physical contact.

Community Transport Services Tasmania can help vulnerable Tasmanians with grocery and pharmacy delivery at no cost, and extended its service to include transport to medical appointments. More info: met@ctst.org.au or call 1800 781 033

Financial support

Please go to the Services Australia website if you are affected by COVID-19 and want to find out more about financial assistance that may be available to you.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment 

Schools

Visit the Schools and Childcare page on the Coronavirus Tasmania website for info.

For further information please contact the Department of Education on 1800 816 057 (9am to 5pm weekdays).

Children should not attend school or childcare if they feel unwell.

Parents who choose to keep your child at home to learn will be responsible for supporting their child’s learning through their own resources. The Department of Education Learning at Home page provides some ideas and activities which may assist.

Early childhood education and care 

Children can still attend childcare, unless they are unwell or meet the criteria for self-isolation.

Huon Valley Children’s Services’ Child Care Centres in Huonville, Geeveston and Dover continue to run and are following hygiene and social distancing advice from the Department of Health.

After School Care at our centres is available 3pm to 6pm weekdays. Please call the office on (03) 6264 0333 to book.

Disability support

Information and assistance specific to the disability sector is now available on coronavirus.tas.gov.au.

The Australian Government’s Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability has been launched.

Disability Information Helpline: 1800 643 787 weekdays 8am to 8pm and 9am to 7pm on the weekend (free call)

Family violence

The Tasmanian Government has signed a new partnership with the Australian Government to boost responses to family and sexual violence.

Specialist family violence services are available if you or someone you know needs help:

Animal owners, shelters and veterinary clinics

Information for animal owners, veterinary clinics, animal shelters and boarding kennels is now available at coronavirus tas gov au.

Public transport

Passengers are encouraged to keep physical distancing when travelling on public transport. For the latest on using public transport safety please visit www.coronavirus.com.au/families-community/transport

For businesses and employees

COVID-19 Safe Workplaces

Business restrictions can be viewed on the Coronavirus Tasmania website.

The Tasmanian Government has launched a COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework to support businesses and workplaces, while protecting Tasmania’s health and safety.

Checklists and templates are available on coronavirus.tas.gov.au to help businesses develop their workplace COVID-19 Safety Plans.

Work health and safety advice

Employers must ensure the health and safety of workers and other people. This includes having measures in place to stop or manage the risks of COVID-19.

WorkSafe Tasmania provides links to COVID-19 health and safety resources, including industry-specific resources.

Employers are advised to keep up to date with Tasmanian Government advice on controls to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including any restrictions on normal business activities, and respond accordingly.

WorkSafe Tasmania’s Pandemic Plan Advice can guide you in protecting your workers and others at your workplace from COVID-19.

Heads Up gives individuals and businesses the tools to create more mentally healthy workplaces.

Support and advice

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the Business Tasmania Hotline on 1800 440 026.

Business advice:

  • The Kingborough & Huon Business Enterprise Centre provides free advice to small businesses, including topics such as business planning, financial forecasting, tools and templates, and training.
  • Regional tourism organisation Destination Southern Tasmania also offers support and advice for its member businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. The organisation is calling on all tourism-related businesses to join its network by becoming a member for free!
  • If you have a business-related question or problem, you can receive free business advice by going to the Enterprise Centres Tasmania website or calling Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to be directed to an advisor.
  • The Tasmanian Government has boosted the Digital Ready for Business program to help businesses move online. Businesses are encouraged to take advantage of the free online resources available through the Digital Ready website.

Tourism: 

  • Tourism Tasmania are releasing four new ‘Talking Tourism’ Podcasts fortnightly, updating local tourism operators on the latest news and developments.
  • The Tourism Export Council’s Build Back Better webinar series provides tourism businesses with the latest information on how COVID-19 is impacting the industry.

Resources:

  • Buy Something Tasmanian is a new internet marketplace where you can list and sell your products and services to a new and wider range of customers than you currently have.
  • Local businesses can register on Restaurants Hobart to advertise that they are still open for takeaway or delivery. The website requires no commissions from listed businesses.
  • Eat Well Tasmania has launched a new app to support Tasmanian food producers by enabling people to buy fresh local produce while maintaining social distancing.

Financial support

COVID-19 business support, grants and loans are now available on the Business Tasmania website.

Reputable financial advisory business BDO Australia is running webinars for organisations and individuals on how to be prepared, develop action plans, and manage risks during COVID-19.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

Industries

Safe Work Australia provides guidelines and information across 23 industries so that businesses can return to work in a COVID safe environment.

Agriculture, fisheries and forestry

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutual (BCCM) has launched the Co-operative Farming Hotline on 1300 665 174 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) to support Australian farmers, fishers and foresters to work together to establish and grow farm co-operatives through the Co-operative Farming project.

A new $110 million Commonwealth initiative will support access to key export markets for Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector. The International Freight Assistance Mechanism will help to enable the export of our high-quality produce, with return flights bringing back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment. You can express your interest at business.gov.au.

Employment help

The Australian Government has launched a Jobs Hub website to help Australians find work during the pandemic.

Not-for-profit provider Maxima Tasmania (1300 629 462) is available to help people find employment and navigate the Centrelink system, as well as provide ongoing support, for free. This includes its NDIS School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) program, which allows Year 12 students to prepare for work virtually and be supported in employment during COVID-19.

Maxima can also assist businesses that are looking for additional staff through free recruitment assistance and workplace assessments.

Council's COVID-19 response

Stronger Together

Council’s Stronger Together recovery program supports the individuals, families, groups and businesses our communities to work together to recover by finding new ways to live, work and play safely, and come out stronger on the other side.

On the Stronger Together page, you will find:

  • HVC Quick Response Community Grants info
  • Tips to Stay Connected
  • Emergency relief contacts
  • Community support resources

Financial hardship support

Huon Valley Council’s Financial Hardship and Payment Assistance Policy provides assistance to ratepayers and community members experiencing difficulty in meeting financial obligations to Council due to genuine financial hardship.

If you are currently experiencing hardship and have received your rates instalment notice to pay, please contact Council’s Customer Service Office. Our officers will be able to discuss with you the options that are currently available to support you during this time.