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Stay safe as we support business recovery

Tracey Watson and Josh Kerin stand near social distancing sign at IGA.

Council has been working with local businesses to provide advice and help them meet the public health standards required under COVID-19

Thursday 28 May 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council is urging residents to stay safe and help support local business recovery as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease from Monday 1 June.

“We are encouraging locals to buy local where you can and use common sense as we see more businesses start to open,” said David Leathem, Manager Economy and Culture, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“The message is no longer stay at home but stay safe as we transition to a life under a new norm. Our community has been doing a great job to help flatten the curve and we can’t afford to let our guard down.

“Stay vigilant with physical distancing and keep up good hygiene practices as you start to get out and about,” he said.

Council staff have been working with local businesses to provide advice and help them meet the public health standards required.

Under the Step 2 plan to ease restrictions in Victoria, restaurants, cafes and pubs can open and serve meals for up to 20 patrons from June, and up to 50 patrons later in the month.

Real estate auctions and open house inspections will be able to increase to 20 people, plus staff. Personal services such as beauty therapy, tanning, waxing and tattoo parlours will be able to reopen, and join hairdressers who are already able to operate.

Non-food and drink markets can start up again. Tourist accommodation can start to accept visitors for overnight stays, as galleries and museums start to open their doors, followed by indoor cinemas, concert venues, theatres and auditoriums from Monday 22 June.

According to Council’s Public and Environment Health Coordinator Tracey Watson, businesses will need to implement a number of safety measures.

“This will include routine cleaning and disinfection to meet hygiene standards, following the limits on patron numbers, the four square metre rule, and physical distancing,” said Ms Watson.

“It’s been a massive effort for businesses to get up to speed and we’ve been impressed by how many have adapted by changing their business practices, set up or even their business model to operate under COVID-19,” she said.

Council is now turning its attention to help the next wave of businesses preparing to reopen.

“We know it’s been difficult and some businesses are still working through what they need to do to reopen, some are not ready and for some it’s not financially viable at this time.

“That’s why we need everyone to support local businesses where you can and when they reopen,” she said.

“Shop local where you can, follow the rules do simple things to help make each day a little easier. It will also keep reduce concern in the community.

“Know and keep your 1.5 metre distance, wait patiently in queues and don’t enter a business if you can see it’s full.

“Sanitise your hands on entry where possible, and be prepared to give personal details if you are planning to sit down and eat food or are seeking personal services,” said Ms Watson.

Ms Watson said Council had received a small number of complaints from customers concerned about the risks in busy places like supermarkets or more confined spaces.

“We’ve worked really closely with food providers, supermarkets, buys hardware stores and even local food markets who have all made a big effort to meet their obligations.

“Many of these businesses have clear signage in place to remind people to stay apart and sanitise their hands, with some providing sanitiser on entry.

“Some have introduced screens to help protect staff, most are using cashless systems and some have staff or attendants monitoring traffic flow at the door.”

Based on the hive of activity Council is seeing in the CBD, it expects things to get busy very quickly over the next few weeks.

“We want to thank everyone for playing your part to help reduce the risks and keep everyone at ease. We’re all in this together,” said Ms Watson.

If you are concerned or want to report a suspected breach of public health restrictions, such as mass gathering or business breaches contact the Police Assistance Line of 131 444 or online via www.police.vic.gov.au.

For up-to-date advice and information on restrictions visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

For information on local business support during COVID-19 or Council’s Environmental Health Guidelines visit www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/COVID19BusinessSupport.

If you need support contact Council’s COVID-19 support service on 1800 512 446 between 8.30am and 5.00pm (Monday to Friday), email covid19@mountalexander.vic.gov.au or make a request online via www.connectmountalexander.com.au.

Image: Council’s Public and Environment Health Coordinator Tracey Watson with Store Manager Josh Kerin from IGA-Maxi.

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