Health authorities have confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in the Macedon Ranges Shire over the weekend, as some council operations and other non-essential services close throughout the region.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council has closed its customer service centres, pools, leisure centres, kindergartens, community halls, sport pavilions, Hanging Rock and libraries to reduce the spread of the virus.
The council has closed its facilities, including customer service desks at Romsey, Woodend, Gisborne and Kyneton, as part of its approach to reduce the risk to the health of the community, especially elderly and vulnerable people.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council chief executive Margot Stork said council was continuing to follow government advice by minimising large public gatherings, dispensing with non-essential meetings and events, and encouraging social distancing.
“We know closing our customer service centres will have an impact on the community’s ability to make payments in person and to seek advice from officers,” Ms Stork said.
“However it’s important to know council will continue to operate. Officers will still be available by phone and email, and payments will be able to be made by phone, online and through other methods detailed on payment notices.
“If you are unable to make payment through one of these methods, please call us to discuss your options,” Ms Stork said.
“We also have a financial hardship policy, which is available on our website, and which outlines the process to seek deferment or waiver of rates and charges.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, events across the shire have been postponed or cancelled, including Woodend Winter Arts Festival which was scheduled for June.
Access to Hanging Rock will now cease to ensure council is in adherence with the Department of Health guidelines.
Kindergartens have closed in line with school holiday start dates, and parents will be informed of the likely re-opening dates during the school holidays.
Ms Stork said the decision was made in accordance with the recommendations by the Department of Education and Training.
“We thank staff and families for their cooperation, and we will update you as soon as we can,” she said.
Changes to services like maternal and child health have taken place and the citizenship ceremony scheduled for April 7 was cancelled.
The Kyneton tip has been closed, but transfer stations will remain open.
Council is discouraging people travelling to Mount Macedon area during autumn.
The council is working hard to ensure supermarkets are able to receive their needed supplies.
“We know stocks are running low in many of our local supermarkets, so we want to ensure we are doing what we can to help local businesses get that stock in for local residents, especially for the elderly and most vulnerable,” Ms Stork said.
Anyone planning to attend the ordinary council meeting scheduled for Wednesday are encouraged to watch the livestream online where possible.
For daily updates on service changes and closures visit mrsc.vic.gov.au/coronavirus or call council during business hours on 5422 0333.