COVID-19: How Council is responding to the Coronavirus

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Everything you need to know about COVID-19, including frequently asked questions, can be found at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx 

For updates on Council's response to COVID-19, please follow Council's social media handles - including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit the World Health Organisation or NSW Health

COVID-19 Restrictions Update

A new Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) was introduced on Tuesday 30 June 2020. It is strongly recommended that you download and familiarise yourself with the requirements of the Order as it relates to your proposed activity.

Click here to view the latest Public Health Order.(PDF, 683KB)

  • Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 20 people and don't require a COVID-19 Safety Plan. Public outdoor gatherings over 20 people require a COVID-19 Safety Plan as per Schedule 1 Premises in the Public Health Order. The 4 sq metre rule applies.
  • Community centres and performance theatres are now open in accordance with the maximum number based on the 4 sq metre rule and requires all occupiers to develop and comply with their COVID-19 Safety Plan.

For FAQs, visit the NSW Government website.

Council's Customer Service Centre is OPEN - A Quick Drop Station is Available

As of Monday 15 June, Council’s Customer Service Counter will be reopen from 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

A ‘Quick Drop Station’ will be available between 8:30am – 4:30pm for the submission of paper forms and Development Applications. However, from 1 July, Development Applications may only be lodged direct with the NSW Planning Portal. It will no longer be possible to lodge Development Applications direct with Council.

A maximum of 20 people is allowed within the Customer Service Centre at any one time. Please observe social distancing by remaining 1.5 metres from others.

Meetings with a Development Advisor are by appointment only between 1pm and 4pm Monday to Friday. It is essential to book online before you visit.

Council’s telephone service remains open from 8:00am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday for calls on +61 2 9843 0555.

The Hills Shire Council is encouraging residents to do business online via Council’s website. You can search Council’s website for the following services:

Waste Services will continue to operate as normal - book a kerbside clean up on 1800 623 895.

You can call Council 24/7 for emergencies relating to roads, trees, drainage, dog attacks, alleged breaches of development consent, or unauthorised work on trees on 9843 0555.

Council Services, Libraries & Council Meetings Update

Council meetings reopen to the public

The conduct and operation of The Hills Shire Council’s Ordinary Meetings has been impacted during the coronavirus pandemic, however, in accordance with the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020 from 30 June 2020, members of the public are now permitted to attend Council Meetings in person. Those attending meetings must adhere to strict social distancing measures (1 person per 4 square metres).  

Council is mindful of the safety and welfare of Councillors, staff and the public meaning extra precautions and management of the meeting and chamber is required.  Social distancing requirements means a maximum of  24 public attendees will be allowed to be in the Council Chamber at one time.

Members of the public are required to register their attendance by 10am on the day of the meeting by emailing publicofficer@thehills.nsw.gov.au and detailing the item/items they are interested in. Should more than 24 people request to attend the meeting, where possible rostering will take place so that people can attend for the item they are interested in. Council will endeavour to accommodate requests but cannot give a guarantee due to capacity requirements. A return email will be sent to anyone wishing to attend with details concerning attendance.  

Members of the public will be able to register to address Council on matters on the agenda. Also, members of the public will be able to register to ask a question of Council in community forum however community forum is not for speeches by members of the public. To assist in limiting movement around the Council Chamber, the Public are not able to speak at the meeting and must send their speech to publicofficer@thehills.nsw.gov.au by 5.00pm on the Monday preceding the Council Meeting.

Should you wish to speak on an item on the Agenda or ask a question of Council in Community Forum, you are requested to email your speech to publicofficer@thehills.nsw.gov.au and if approved, it will be read out at the meeting. Please note that questions in Community Forum cannot be about an item on the Agenda and should be limited to questions only.  Questions may not be answered at the meeting in accordance with the procedures and rights contained in the code of meeting practice.

Please do not register or come to Council if you are ill even in a minor way.  Please also do not come if you have come into contact with someone who is displaying fever, cold and flu like symptoms. Seating will be arranged to comply with social distancing requirements and contact details will be collected in order to contact attendees in response to any COVID-19 outbreak. Additional cleaning has been implemented, including high touch points, to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

 

We value the safety of our community members and will be doing all we can to keep you safe. Thank you for your understanding during these difficult times.

Please check any new Public Health Order that may be issued following the publication of this notice for changes to procedures for Council Meetings, or call 9843 0555 for clarification.

 

The Hills Shire Library Service

Following the recent Public Health Order, The Hills Shire Library Service is continuing to move forward with reopening.

From Monday 6 July residents will be able to visit all four libraries to borrow and return items. This includes the newly renovated Baulkham Hills Library.

In line with the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Safety Plan for Libraries, we are still required to quarantine and clean all returned items prior to returning them to the shelves. Click & Collect services are available for all residents and the “Stay Home and Read” service for seniors will continue until at least the end of July depending on how the pandemic evolves.

Weekend opening will resume across the service from Saturday 11 July and evening services will be available once per week at each library.

Chapters café at Castle Hill Library has also re-opened.

Scanning, printing and copying services will recommence, and two public computers will be available on a pre-booking only basis for customers who may need to use a PC for up to 30 minutes at a time.

Due to the strict limits on the number of customers allowed in each library to ensure observance of the 4sqm per person at any one time, we are unable to accommodate  students at this time for study.

We will continue to monitor this situation over the next two weeks with the view to potentially opening limited study facilities on a booking system towards the end of July.

 

Hills Voices in the Time of COVID-19 

The Hills Shire Library is documenting the experiences of life in the Hills Shire during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions so that we have a record for researchers and future generations. We will also be posting selected submissions on our website and social media, and may make them available in the future. To submit your experience or for more information, click here.

 

Funerals

All funerals at Castle Hill and Sackville cemeteries must follow the 4sq metre social distancing rule as per the Public Health Order to a maximum of 50 people.


Current advice on changes to other Council services and operations

Existing and additional changes to services and operations will be updated as the situation changes.

  • All bushcare and nursery volunteering in The Hills is postponed until further notice. Advice about the resumption of regular Bushcare and Community Nursery activities will be updated as the situation changes.
  • Bidjiwong Community Nursery is currently closed until further notice.
  • Council is currently not accepting applications for work experience opportunities. Advice about the resumption of work experience opportunities will be updated as the situation changes.
  • Household bins and clean-up material will now be collected from 5am on local roads and 4am on main roads in order to stagger drivers for social distancing purposes. For more information, read the media release.

Operating as Normal

The following services, facilities and activities are operating as normal: 

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Council's affiliated childcare centres
  • Council's Contact Centre - call 9843 0555 for assistance with Council services or do business online via Council's website
  • Access to parks and reserves - in accordance with State and Federal Government guidelines, if you are visiting public spaces, please do not congregate in these areas and observe a 1.5 metre distance between yourself and others.
  • Civil works program and maintenance
  • Waste collection and Kerbside Clean-ups

Outdoor Exercise, Personal and Sports Training

Organised sports, dog and personal training is now permitted for up to a maximum of 500 participants and requires a COVID-19 Safety Plan and abiding by the 4 sq metre rule. Activities under 20 people do not require a COVID-19 Safety Plan, however social distancing and the 4 sq metre rule applies.

Business Support

Support for small business affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Business owners are faced with challenging times. Take advantage of the assistance provided by different levels of government, and non-government organisations, helping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

98% of registered businesses in The Hills are classified as small, employing between 1-19 people. There are a range of stimulus and support available to our small business community. For more information on support for small businesses, click here.

Extended Operating Hours for Businesses & Construction Sites

The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Hon. Rob Stokes has made the following Orders under section 210.17 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Extended Operating Hours for Businesses

Environmental Planning & Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Extended Operation) Order 2020, which allows the following changes:

1. Retail trading premises such as supermarkets, pharmacies and corner stores are allowed to operate 24 hours per day.

2. Waste disposal from retail premises can be done at any time.

3. Retailers that are part of hotels and motels are also allowed to provide food and beverages 24 hours per day.

4. Home Businesses and Home Industries can operate 24 hours per day and to employ more than 2 people other than the permanent residents of the dwelling, but not more than 5 people, providing they can abide by social distancing rules.

Notes on 4:

  • Where the business was either Exempt, or
    When prior approval was given as Complying or DA Consented Approval.
  • Does not include a new business (unless otherwise Exempt)
  • Cannot relocate a business from one premises to another (unless otherwise Exempt)

Environmental Planning and Assessment COVID-19 Development - Extended Operation Order 2020(PDF, 367KB)  

Extended Operating Hours for Construction Sites

Environmental Planning & Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 allows the following changes:

Extended days for Construction Work – Weekday constructions site operating hours to be extended to weekends and public holidays to ensure workers can practice social distancing without a loss of productivity or jobs.

This means that builders and their employees will be able to work on construction sites seven days a week during their approved hours of operation provided they take all feasible and reasonable measures to minimise noise.  This works does not include rock breaking, rock hammering sheet piling, pile driving or similar activities

For further information in relation to the Order, read the Environmental Planning & Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 here.

 

 

COVIDSAFE.jpg
Using the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe phone application in The Hills community

The COVIDSafe app is a key part of the Australian Government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Having the confidence to find and contain outbreaks quickly will mean governments can ease restrictions while still keeping Australians safe.

The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. Downloading the app is something you can do to protect family and friends and save the lives of other Australians.

The more Australians that connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus and take all necessary actions to contain an outbreak.

Everyone who downloads the COVIDSafe app can be assured their privacy is protected by law. The Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, has issued a Determination under the Biosecurity Act which protects privacy. It restricts access to app data to state and territory health authorities who will notify people exposed to COVID-19. It will be a criminal offence to use app data in any other way.

To download the app or for more information (including privacy, how the app works and how to delete the app), please visit https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app#get-the-app

 

Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers is the nominated reporting agency for the public to provide information to police about individuals, businesses and corporations not complying with Public Health Orders. Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to report a breach or make a written report online https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/


 

 

How the Hills Shire Council is responding to COVID-19:

The Hills Shire Council is currently monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will continue to follow the advice of State and Federal Health Departments.

Council's focus during the COVID-19 situation is to maintain good service levels while protecting our community. We will aim to do this by:

  • Maintaining essential services, such as Meals on Wheels, to residents;
  • Providing up-to-date information about any changes to services and/or operations at Council-owned facilities;
  • Supporting government, government departments, emergency services and agencies to help manage the impact of the virus;
  • Acting on advice from NSW Department of Health and the Office of Local Government;
  • Following State and Federal Government advice regarding events and public gatherings