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Stay safe and be kind as we welcome back visitors

Clare and Aileen open doors to the Visitor Information Centre.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is urging residents to stay safe and provide a friendly welcome to family, friends and visitors from Melbourne and beyond as Victoria opens up for intrastate travel again.

Monday 9 November 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council is urging residents to stay safe and provide a friendly welcome to family, friends and visitors from Melbourne and beyond as Victoria opens up for intrastate travel again.

As the ring of steel is removed and coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions ease we can expect some busy times ahead as Melbourne comes into line with Regional Victoria.

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Manager Economy and Culture David Leathem said the time has come to welcome visitors from Melbourne back to our beautiful towns and hamlets in Mount Alexander Shire.

“The Victorian Government’s announcement this week brought tears of joy to many Victorians who are looking forward to being reunited with family and friends, or getting away from the confines of the city after many months.

“We’ve seen a gradual increase in the number of visitors from Regional Victoria over the past few weeks,” said Mr Leathem.

“Opening up to Melbourne will be a significant step in kick starting economic recovery for many businesses in our shire, particularly those in the creative industries and tourism sectors that have been really hard hit.

“Our shire has so much to offer from historic streetscapes, stunning natural landscapes and goldfields history.

“With top notch accommodation providers, restaurants, cafes, pubs, wineries, cideries, food producers, shops, galleries, artisans and makers, markets and a thriving arts and entertainment scene we know that Castlemaine, Maldon and surrounds will be a popular choice for day trippers and overnight visitors.

“With Melburnians making up about 50 per cent of our visitor economy, it’s important that we provide the best experience possible, while doing everything we can to keep our visitors and community safe from COVID-19,” he said.

Council has been working to support local businesses to help prepare and finesse their COVIDSafe plans, prepare for the influx of visitors, and tap into financial support and counselling that is available.

“We have street decals to assist with physical distancing, travel safe post cards, posters, guidelines and checklists at hand for local businesses, and have offered businesses who need emotional support or counselling with access to our free Employee Assistance Program.

Staff recently held industry specific information sessions for food and drink operators, accommodation providers and general business.

“We’ve been assisting hospitality businesses to expand their outdoor dining options and have waived permit fees for on-street dining and footpath trading from September 2020 to September 2021,” said Mr Leathem.

“We’re also offering tourism businesses a free 12 month membership to our tourism memberships program, as part of our commitment to support local businesses,” he said.

The Visitor Information Centre in Castlemaine is back open seven days a week and the Maldon Visitor Information is open on weekends to help visitors with accommodation bookings, souvenirs and things to see and do in the shire.

“It’s been good to see establishments welcoming customers again and we look forward to expanding our support to other sectors as restrictions continue to ease.

“As we welcome Melbourne and more visitors back to the shire we are reminding everyone to play it safe to keep Mount Alexander Shire COVID-free.

“If you know someone who is planning a getaway or are welcoming family and friends again, please encourage them to do the right thing while they are here,” said Mr Leathem.

Don’t forget the basics like wash your hands regularly, wear a mask when you leave home and stay 1.5 metres apart from others.

Be kind to others, wait patiently in queues or to be seated, register your address when needed and book ahead wherever possible particularly if planning to go out for a meal.

Remember that some people have a valid reason for not wearing a mask. Get tested for COVID-19 at the first sign of any symptom and stay home until you get your result.

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 the latest information on the state-wide update visit www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

Visit www.connectmountalexander.com.au to access Council’s dedicated COVID-19 support service or to find out more about other local business support initiatives.

Image: Coordinator of the Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre (VIC) Clare Hutchison and Acting Communication and Customer Services Manager Aileen Walsh open the doors of the VIC.

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