Latest on Inner West Council coronavirus response

Updated 14 August 2020

The COVID-19 coronavirus situation is changing rapidly. We will keep you updated below as changes occur.

For health information visit NSW Health or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 if you have symptoms.

Talk to someone in your language

The 14 August update relates to:

Case locations 

Council was advised on Friday 14 August that a student who played a netball game at Robyn Webster Sports Centre on Saturday 8 August subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

Council immediately closed the venue and undertook deep cleaning of all public facing areas in the indoor centre as a precaution. The venue had already been thoroughly cleaned as part of Council’s enhanced daily cleaning regime. The venue will reopen on Saturday 15 August.

 

Arts

Chrissie Cotter Gallery and Thirning Villa Gallery will reopen for exhibitions on 20 June.

  • No group activities/functions

Council’s Creative and Cultural Resilience Grants Program closed on 17 May 2020. Find out more at the Creative and Cultural Resilience Grants webpage

Council has extended the acquittal dates of its current Arts and Culture Grants and Live Music Grants to 31 December 2020.

Council has created a support page for the local arts and cultural sector, which lists relevant grants, information and resources, including mental health support.

Business support

Council recognises that small businesses are the backbone of the Inner West economy and community.

Council is determined to support small businesses during this difficult time as they struggle to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.

Council's has developed comprehensive measures of support for local business.

NSW Food Authority Free Food Service Course

The NSW Food Authority has partnered with NSW Health to develop COVID-19 awareness for food service, which is a free, voluntary online training course to support food businesses in providing a COVID safe environment. The course includes key advice, links to relevant resources and has a quiz at the end. An acknowledgement certificate is generated on completion of the course.

The NSW Premier announced that on 1 June restrictions would be eased for cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs to allow for up to 50 customers, subject to a one person per four square metre rule, and with strict social distancing guidelines in place. All businesses will also be required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan, and to keep records of all staff, customers with a longer contact experience such as dine-in, and contractors for at least 28 days.

While the course has been developed for anyone working in NSW food retail and food service businesses, enrolment is open to everyone. It is hoped that the course will boost consumer confidence in the NSW retail food sector as these businesses gradually return to normal operation.

The COVID-19 awareness for food service training course aims to provide useful information to help food businesses understand the changes that have come into effect and what they need to do. It is not part of the Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) training requirement, and is not an accredited course.

Find further details at the NSW Food Service Authority website

Evictions moratorium

National Cabinet has agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus. Read the Cabinet statement - 29 March here

Rates relief for property owners

Ratepayers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may apply to defer payment of rates. 

Find further details on our Rates relief webpage

Promoting local food businesses

Council has established a list of food businesses that are open for takeaway or delivery, and a social media campaign encouraging residents to support their local restaurants and cafes.

Food businesses are encouraged to submit their listing.

Rent relief for Council tenants

Council is already in contact with its tenants, to ascertain if they are suffering financial hardship and to discuss their individual circumstances.

Fee waivers

Council is currently exploring a package of fee waivers for small businesses that may be seeking development approvals or permits. More information to come.

Parking enforcement

Council’s parking officers have been prioritising public safety over other enforcement activity during the past lockdown period.
From next week, 25 May, Council will recommence patrols of all areas. Infringements will be limited to warning notices only.
From 1 June, full patrols and penalty notices will recommence.
Fines continue to apply to safety-related infringements.

Quick links from Business.gov.au 

Find a range of measures available to small and medium businesses at the links below. 

Call the Business.gov.au support line 13 28 446 for more information.

Quick links from NSW State Government

The NSW State Government has a range of measures to support local business

Call Service NSW 13 77 88 for further information

Actions Council already has in place to support small business

  • Main Street parking meters in Leichhardt, Rozelle and Balmain shopping strips turned off after 7pm to help the night-time economy
  • Abolishing outdoor dining fees, saving local businesses $1.5 million over three years
  • Holding regular business forums, events, workshops and mentoring programs

Case locations

Arlington Reserve at Dulwich Hill hosted a player on Saturday 1 August who has subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. 

As a precaution, Council undertook deep cleaning of all public facing areas, including public toilets, change-rooms, referees’ rooms, canteen and all touchpoints (gates/benches/fences).

Childcare services

Any family members who have visited Victoria and are returning to an IWC Children’s Service are required to follow the steps below:

  1. Confirm whether you/any members of your family/household are returning from Victoria.
  2. Adhere to NSW Health measures and self-isolate for a period of 14 days in accordance with the Public Health Order.
  3. Confidentially – advise the Centre Coordinator in writing if your family is self-isolating. 

If you require additional information, please contact the Service Coordinator for the Centre. 

Enquiries:

childcareconcerns@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

Community language translations

Council offers a free interpreter service. Talk to someone in your language

A range of state and federal departments and organisations have translated vital information about how to stay safe in times of COVID-19 in community languages. Please note that not all sites have translated information into all languages.

Community support services

Inner West Council staff recognise how important it is to continue to connect with community groups and other not-for-profits and NGOs in the area, to work with these groups so we can better support our vulnerable community members during this difficult period.

We have collated a list or helpful places to find information and support services.  

Find further information and support service details

Construction industry support

Construction sites can now operate on weekends and public holidays under new rules introduced by the NSW Government on 2 April to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The decision allows workers to abide by social distancing rules while keeping construction projects progressing by allowing building work to be spread across more days of the week.  The change intends to support the construction and development industries, which make up almost 10% of the NSW economy. 

Council can now only investigate weekend and public holiday construction complaints if they fall outside the usual weekday construction site operating hours.

Find more information  at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website

Customer service

Inner West Council’s Leichhardt and Ashfield Service Centres have reopened. 
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5pm 

Measures in place to ensure customer and staff safety include:

·       Restricted numbers in foyer and social distancing

·       Perspex screens at customer service counters

·       Additional cleaning of surfaces

·       Cashless transactions are preferred

A duty planner is available for development application assistance at Leichhardt Service Centre. 

Customers are encouraged to use online self-service where possible. 

JP services are not currently available.  

Petersham Service Centre remains closed at this stage.

Events, meetings and gatherings

Residents are urged to follow the current NSW Public Health order on gatherings and movements and guidelines on social distancing.

  • Council meetings resumed on Tuesday, 7 April and start at 6.30pm. The meetings are held remotely via Zoom meetings and are livestreamed on Council’s website. Watch them here
  • NAIDOC Week 2020 (5 to 12 July) has been postponed and will take place from 8 November to 15 November
  • Footprints Ecofestival will go ahead as an online event 
  • Council events cancelled immediately until further notice include:
    - Dulwich Hill Village Fair (originally scheduled for Sunday 13 September)
    - Summer Hill Neighbourhood Feast (originally scheduled for Sunday 27 September)
    - Marrickville Festival (originally scheduled for Sunday 18 October)
  • Library activities are cancelled until further notice
  • Environment workshops are cancelled until further notice
  • Magic Yellow Bus service has been cancelled until further notice
  • Community wellbeing programs and activities are cancelled until further notice
  • Seniors Active and Connected programs are cancelled until further notice

General information

Council’s coronavirus response plan is to slow the spread of coronavirus within the Council workforce and within the Inner West community and protect essential services such as waste collection and customer service.

There may be some unavoidable service delays and disruptions which Council will work hard to minimise.

Good neighbour postcard

Council has created a Good neighbour postcard that residents can use to check in with neighbours to offer assistance to those more vulnerable during COVID-19.

Th post cards will be distributed to people's mail boxes in the coming week for people who cannot access online services.

You can download and print the postcard here:

Good neighbour postcard  (PDF 237.1KB) 

Service NSW Hotline

Service NSW has a 24 hour / seven day a week hotline on 13 77 88. Service NSW staff can follow up about specific concerns for community members and business operators throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as well as give general information. 

Customer service changes

Inner West Council’s Leichhardt and Ashfield Service Centres have reopened. 
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5pm 

Measures in place to ensure customer and staff safety include:

·       Restricted numbers in foyer and social distancing

·       Perspex screens at customer service counters

·       Additional cleaning of surfaces

·       Cashless transactions are preferred

A duty planner is available for development application assistance at Leichhardt Service Centre. 

Customers are encouraged to use online self-service where possible. 

JP services are not currently available.  

Petersham Service Centre remains closed at this stage.

Health and hygiene

Extra cleaning and hygiene measures have been put in place at all Council facilities.

Incident Management Team

Council has established an Incident Management Team to oversee how the COVID-19 response is organised.

Spitting and Coughing Order

Council staff, including rangers, are among those now protected under the Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order 2020 which incurs $5000 on-the-spot fines for anyone coughing or spitting on workers at their place of work or travelling to or from work.

The order also includes health workers, police, pharmacists, paramedics, or other public officials and commenced on 20 April 2020. 

Members of the public can report anyone not complying with Public Health Orders to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000.

Grants program

Creative and cultural resilience grants 

Council’s Creative and Cultural Resilience Grants Program closed 17 May 2020.  

Council is has extended the acquittal dates of its current Arts and Culture Grants and Live Music Grants to 31 December 2020.

Council has created a support page for the local arts and cultural sector, which lists relevant grants, information and resources, including mental health support.

Sydney Water community group grants

Sydney Water is offering over $80,000 in grants to community groups.

Grassroots community groups, including schools, can now apply for Sydney Water’s Community Grants Program, with over $80,000 up for grabs.

The program provides grants of up to $4,000 to organisations supporting their local community through digital innovation, embracing diversity at a grassroots level and protecting our environment. 

Applications close Friday 29 May, with recipients announced in late July. 

For more information including terms and conditions, FAQs and to apply visit  the Sydney Water website 

Find further details about Council's COVID-19 response below.

JP Services

Due to libraries and customer service centres being closed, Council's JP services are currently suspended.

Find registered JPs and their contact details in your suburb at the NSW Communities and Justice website 

Some local chemists also offer this service.

Libraries 

  • Ashfield, Balmain, Leichhardt and Marrickville libraries are open:
    Monday to Thursday, 9am to 7.30pm, Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

    • There will be limited seating
    • Newspapers available from 10am Monday to Friday and 11am Saturday to Sunday. Antibacterial wipes are available to clean newspapers between customers.
    • The libraries are now cashless for any photocopying, payment of fines or any other library business, you must be a member.
    • Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 9am-10am, will be limited to vulnerable community members
    • Patrons must practice social distancing
    • Computers will be limited due to social distancing requirements
    • No group activities or meetings
    • Numbers limited to: Ashfield 125 people, Balmain 80 people, Leichhardt 100 people, and Marrickville 300 people
    • Haberfield and St Peters libraries are currently closed for refurbishment. Emmanuel Tsardoulias Community library at Dulwich Hill and Stanmore library remain closed due to limited capacity
    • Extra health and safety measures will be taken:
      - Books quarantined 24 hours
      - Enhanced cleaning and hand sanitising 
  • All library members still have access to online membership and borrowing including access to books, audio books, movies, e-learning and magazines.
  • Home Library service is  available

Noise complaints

Construction sites can now operate on weekends and public holidays under new rules introduced by the NSW Government on 2 April to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The decision allows workers to abide by social distancing rules while keeping construction projects progressing by allowing building work to be spread across more days of the week.  The change intends to support the construction and development industries, which make up almost 10% of the NSW economy.

Council can now only investigate weekend and public holiday construction complaints if they fall outside the usual weekday construction site operating hours.

Find more information on this change at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website

Council has been experiencing an increase in the number of requests received from the community relating to construction works and routine activities (lawn mowing, music, playing instruments etc).

Whilst we appreciate that a larger number of people are currently working from home and may be unfamiliar with the level of intrusion that works and routine activities can generate, it doesn’t alter the controls in place being either legislative or via an existing approval. As such Council is limited in its ability to respond to these requests where these controls exist.  Find details on Noise and what is permissible 

Parking

Council’s parking officers have been prioritising public safety over other enforcement activity during the past lockdown period.
From next week, 25 May, Council will recommence patrols of all areas. Infringements will be limited to warning notices only.
From 1 June, full patrols and penalty notices will recommence.
Fines continue to apply to safety-related infringements.

Public spaces

We urge residents to follow the current NSW Public Health order on gatherings and movements and guidelines on social distancing.

  • Council is urging Inner West citizens to make the most of their COVID-19 isolation exercise time by discovering the many walks, running and cycling routes available to them. Read the  "Go take a hike" media release here.
  • Inner West parks are still open. 
  • Playgrounds, outdoor fitness stations and skate parks will reopen on Friday 15 May, in line with advice from NSW Health. Users should exercise caution including practising social distancing. Use of hand sanitiser or wipes is recommended.
  • Commercial fitness trainers and boot camps are permitted to resume from Friday 15 May. Registered trainers are permitted to resume groups limited to 10 people. Social distancing and good hygiene must be maintained.
  • Basketball courts and tennis courts remain open and social distancing rules apply. Maximum two people per court.
  • Dog parks are also still open and people are reminded to maintain social distancing.
  • Community sports group will return to organised training on 2 June. Please stay connected to your club to find out when and how training will take place.
  • The Iron Cove Bay run is also still open with social distancing rules.
  • Council has increased ranger presence to educate community about the new rules. To report breaches, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Pets and animals 

 

  • Members of the community can leave their house for exercise including walking the dog.  Please remember:
    - By law dogs must be on a leash in all public places, unless within a designated dog off leash exercise areas
    - If you go out, stay 1.5 metres away from other people at all times
    - Wash your hands as soon as you get home 
  • At this stage, there is also no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, wash your hands after being around animals. Visit the NSW Health website to stay up to date 
  • There is also currently no evidence that bats (or any other animals) carry the COVID-19 virus in Australia. However, Australian bats can carry other serious infections, such as Australian bat lyssavirus and Hendra virus so they are best avoided. Visit the NSW Health website to stay up to date 

Rates relief

Ratepayers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may apply to defer payment of rates. 

Find further details on our Rates relief webpage

Venues and community centres

Council will reopen its community centres and facilities to existing community hirers from Monday 15 June in line with NSW Health advice.*

Centres will have reduced capacity due to restrictions of four square metres for each person. NSW Government restrictions continue to apply to some activities.

Council staff will work directly with regular hirers to reconfirm or amend bookings which were temporarily on hold. Hirers will need to provide a COVID-19 safety plan for their activity for Council's approval, and sign an amended booking agreement before activities can resume.

For bookings enquiries, email bookingsteam@innerwest.nsw.gov.au or phone Ilce Kostrevski, Acting Community Facilities Coordinator, on 9392 5775.

* Subject to Council receiving the Public Health Order from NSW Government

Waste and recycling

  • Some Council clean up services reopen Monday 1 June
    - Free booked collections of mattresses and white goods resume Monday 1 June
    - Scheduled clean ups continue as normal
    - Bookings for paid clean ups remain closed but will resume soon
    - Check specific service information for your suburb on the Council clean up page
  • Red, green, blue and yellow bin collections continue. 
    Please check your collection day here
  • The Weekend transfer station at Leichhardt reopened 23 May (weekends only)
    The community recycling centres (CRCs) at Leichhardt and St Peters will reopened 23 May (weekends only)
    For a full list of what can and cant be dropped off, visit our TrickyWaste webpage

Volunteering

Volunteering NSW have created an Emergency Volunteer Platform for community members who want to volunteer to support people impacted by COVID-19.
Potential volunteers can submit their details to the emergency support volunteer list.
From there, Volunteering NSW will share their details with organisations needing assistance. 

If you would like to assist our local community during the COVID-19 situation you can also make contact with the following organisations requiring volunteers:

 

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Page last updated: 14 Aug 2020