The Devonport City Council is closely monitoring the evolving situation regarding COVID-19 and it is fair to say that the situation is changing daily, if not several times a day.
It has already had an impact on our operations with Council announcing last week that, given advice from health authorities, some facilities were to be closed, Council meetings had been suspended and staff work arrangements had ben varied to ensure the continuity of essential services.
Since Wednesday Council’s Customer Service operations and meeting rooms in the paranaple centre and at the Works Depot, the Bass Strait Maritime Centre, the Devonport Regional Gallery, Visitor Information Centre, Providore Place food pavilion and paranaple convention centre have been closed until further notice.
Council officers are not holding any non-essential face-to-face meetings with the public. Remote meetings can be organised by telephoning 6424 0511 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Recreation centres and sporting clubrooms are closed and café outlets in Providore Place and the paranaple centre have been only offering takeaway services, in-line with an announcement by health authorities earlier this wek.
Council meetings, workshops and committee meetings have also been cancelled until further notice.
The Splash Aquatic Centre has also closed.
The Spreyton Waste Transfer Station is continuing to operate in accord with its normal trading hours. Paywave is the preferred payment method but cash will be accepted if the correct amount is offered. Receipts will not be issued, unless requested.
Council has sought to operate within the restrictions imposed by health officials during this time and acknowledges that it can no longer be business as usual if we are to be proactive in reducing the risk to both our community and our staff.
As a further precautionary measure, office staff are currently working from home on a rotational basis in preparation for if, or when, this becomes essential. Outdoor staff are being grouped into smaller teams with different start and finish locations to minimise risk to them and to service delivery.
Given the nature of the pandemic we do not know how long these closures will last nor if any other services will be affected in the future.
Council remains committed to serving the community as best it can, considering the restrictions placed on it.
We will continue to keep the community informed of any further changes as they become necessary and would encourage the community to keep an eye on our website and social media for further updates.
I would also encourage the community to remain vigilant in following the health guidelines – particularly as they relate to regular handwashing and maintain safe distances – as they are updated.
On Monday night Council formed a COVID-19 Response Committee consisting of three Councillors and relevant senior staff to develop and implement strategies to provide assistance, support and relief for the inevitable hardship many in the community will experience during the crisis.
Council has already suspended parking fees within its Car Parks and street meters.
However, Council is relying on community members to be responsible and to not see this as an opportunity to park for free all day outside their business or place of employment.
Retailers require parking to be available for genuine customers, and there are certainly less of those at the moment.
It would be a shame if people seeking to do business were stopped because they could not find parking nearby as a result of someone occupying a space unnecessarily.
Time restrictions and zones – such as spaces for people with disabilities, loading zones and no parking areas – still apply and Council staff will be monitoring these regularly.
On its website, at https://www.devonport.tas.gov.au/covid-19-update-supporting-local-services/, Council is providing a list of current businesses that are currently operating to help the community support local businesses.
This list is being kept as current as possible, but it must be understood that there will be gaps, at times.
For the latest information on the virus visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au as this website remains the single source of truth for information relating to the Tasmanian response to COVID-19.
CR ANNETTE ROCKLIFF