COVID-19 Lockdown Extension Affects Council Services; BMCC Continues To Advocate For The Blue Mountains Business Community

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The closure of some Council facilities and services will temporarily continue, after the NSW Government today extended its COVID-19 lockdown period for Greater Sydney.

Some services – like Libraries, Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Blue Mountains Theatre and Hub, Leisure Centres, Halls and Visitor Information Centres – will be affected until at least 17 July to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community and Staff.

Council is reopening Waste Management Facilities to residents (at normal operating hours) from tomorrow (8 July 2021), but for essential waste only. Council is also reopening its playgrounds and tennis courts – for exercise – from tomorrow, given there have been no new cases in the Blue Mountains after the confirmed case in Blaxland on 26-27 June.

However, Council is urging residents to be aware of the current public health order to ensure they do not contravene it while visiting these places. Go to https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/public-health-orders.aspx.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “The fact that there has been no community contraction after the case at Blaxland has informed Council’s adjustment to its previous position.

“But we need our community to continue to be vigilant for the sake of all. We all need to follow the public health order, and get tested if we display any symptoms, to ensure our community is not put at risk.

“We have previously been inundated with reports of people congregating at some of Council’s major playgrounds, and not social distancing, including children from different households,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“If this occurs – or if we experience more local cases of COVID-19 – then BMCC will have to reconsider its decision. Council’s Crisis Management Team are assessing these issues daily so we can be responsive. Now is not the time for complacency. There is too much at risk – and half measures will not do.

Council Staff will be cleaning playground equipment twice a day at its district parks – at Glenbrook Park, Buttenshaw Park, Wentworth Falls Lake and Soldiers Memorial Park at Blackheath.

“But it’s not possible for Council officers to clean equipment multiple times daily at all of its playgrounds in 56 different locations,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“So, residents are urged to wipe down equipment before use by their children.” Council sportsgrounds and ovals will remain open for residents who would like to use them for exercise, during this extended period of shutdown, but no more than 10 people can be together exercising at any one time. Sportsgrounds and ovals remain closed for club sports currently.

Council has turned on the lights at 12 sportsgrounds giving the community the chance to get outside and be active during the restrictions. The lights are on between 5pm and 9pm Monday to Friday. Get more information at: https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/parks. Council facilities that will remain temporarily closed until at least 17 July are:

  • Blue Mountains Libraries at Katoomba, Blackheath, Wentworth Falls, Lawson and Blaxland, as well as the Library in the Loft service at Springwood.
  • Leisure and Aquatic Centres at Katoomba, Springwood and Glenbrook.
  • BM Cultural Centre, BM Theatre and Hub and Braemar House & Gallery.
  • Blue Mountains Community Halls.
  • Echo Point and Visitor Information Centres at Echo Point and Glenbrook, and
  • The Bushcare service.

Council’s Customer Contact Centres, at Katoomba and Springwood, remain closed for face-to-face visitors, but customer service officers are still available on the phone and online. Go to https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/eservices.

Council continues to advocate for the Blue Mountains business community.

The latest NSW Small Business COVID-19 Support Grant is only available to businesses and sole traders with a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum. The great majority of creative industries businesses and arts practitioners are not eligible, despite being among the hardest hit and most vulnerable during COVID-19.

“Sole traders and small businesses – creative and personal service businesses in particular – have been left with no income and no support during this lockdown after the NSW government support package set the income threshold,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“Council is asking the NSW Government to reduce the income threshold for these and any future COVID-19 hardship grants for small businesses and sole traders, so that these businesses can receive much-needed support.

“In addition, the Government should consider including businesses that have been operating for less than 12 months.”

Council encourages any businesses that are impacted and currently not eligible, to email economicdevelopment@bmcc.nsw.gov.au and provide that feedback so that we have more evidence to support our case for Blue Mountains businesses.

You can stay up to date on Council’s response to COVID-19 at bmcc.nsw.gov.au/coronavirus. Go to the NSW Health website for more information on the current public health order https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/

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