COVID-19: Council closes its front counter, libraries and pools in response to pandemic threat

Bellingen Shire Council has activated its Pandemic Response Plan and shut down several of its key community facilities.

The Customer Service Centre in Bellingen will no longer be offering face to face contact with customers. Staff are still available and the community can still access the range of services and transactions by phoning 6655 7300 or by emailing council@bellingen.nsw.gov.au.

Libraries - Council's three branch libraries in Urunga, Bellingen and Dorrigo are closed. Staff are currently developing programs for click and collect for resources and the community will be notified when these are in place.

Swimming Pools - Bellingen and Dorrigo Swim Centres are closed for the rest of the season.

Waste Transfer Stations - no change to operations at this stage but all facilities have transitioned to cashless payment options only.

Bowerhouse Re-use Centre - the Bowerhouse Re-Use centre at the Raleigh Waste Facility is closed.

Bello Youth Hub - all non-essential programs and initiatives are suspended. This includes youth chill-out (drop-in), art classes, music programs, dance classes. There are restrictions on all non-essential room hires (non-essential meetings, groups, trainings, gatherings). Youth emergency support will continue to be provided over the phone (6655 0381), online through the HUB's social media, directly at the HUB between 10am and 2pm Tuesday to Fridays, and through an online/phone youth worker referral service

Dorrigo Support Centre - closed for normal operations however critical transport and supply operations to clients will continue with strict protocols.

All necessary social isolation and infection control procedures will be put in place across all council facilities and each service will continue to be monitored and altered should circumstances require it.

"We are working towards protecting the health and well-being of our community and particularly our most vulnerable, our staff, councillors and volunteers by implementing a risk management framework that focuses on limiting the spread of the virus while maintaining our essential facilities, services and community programs," General Manager Liz Jeremy said.

"This approach provides us with the agility to introduce scalable options for the delivery of essential services and develop contingency arrangements in response to the evolving challenges we anticipate we will face as a community over the coming months.

"The working group is continually reviewing council's essential and non-essential services and revising current work schedules and practices to identify opportunities to maintain operational capacity in response to potentially reduced staff numbers, while complying with federal and state government advice and directives.

"I'd like to also take this opportunity to thank our community in advance for their patience and understanding as we transition some of our services and business practices so we can maintain our operational capacity for as long as possible and ensure we can support our community and local businesses.

"Whilst we remain focused on our essential service delivery and the wellbeing of our staff and community, we are also working closely as a member of the Bellingen Shire Coronavirus Pandemic Response Group to ensure we are a resilient community that is prepared for the future challenges the Coronavirus presents us."

"Finally, as we work through these challenging circumstances together, we will continue to provide our community with a one stop shop for information around the current pandemic and our actions in relation to services and community initiatives. Please go to Coronavirus Community Updates on the Bellingen Shire Council Create website (https://create.bellingen.nsw.gov.au/coronavirus-updates) to access the most up to date and accurate information" Ms Jeremy said.