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Coronavirus update

Report any breaches of social distancing requirements to Victoria Police's Assistance Line 131 444.

The City of Whittlesea plays a vital role in ensuring public health and has been monitoring all new information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The health and safety of our community is our number one priority. Responding to advice from medical professionals and to comply with social distancing requirements we have closed several council facilities, made changes to Council services to ensure we keep delivering for our community, and cancelled events to help stop the spread of the disease.

Due to the rapidly changing situation, we continue to monitor operations and will keep you informed via this dedicated page.

You can also follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CityOfWhittlesea/

Our customer service desk is currently closed but you can call us on (03) 9217 2170 or email us at info@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

Contact us at feedback@whittlesea.vic.gov.au if you need assistance accessing any of the below information.

We can also help you access it in your preferred language - call 131 450 for support.

Latest advice

Gatherings of more than two people are no longer permitted. The Victorian Police can impose a $1600 fine to anyone who breaches these restrictions.

Households count as one ‘person’ - for example a family of four living in one house may collectively have one guest, or meet with one person outside on their daily exercise or other essential activity (while maintaining a 1.5 distance). Each individual is permitted contact with only one other person (while maintaining a 1.5 distance) when outside the house alone.

All playgrounds, outdoor gym facilities, skateparks and barbecue areas and now closed until further notice.

 

Yes. At this stage, dog parks in the City of Whittlesea remain open but they are being monitored to ensure strict social distancing and gathering restrictions are being followed? If not, Victoria Police will be notified and fines may be imposed.

Yes! You are being strongly urged by all levels of government and health experts to stay home whenever possible. There are only a few exceptions to this, including seeking medical care, travelling to and from work, shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, and daily exercise. Strict social distancing and gathering restrictions apply to all outings.

All individuals over 70 years old, 60 with a pre-existing medical condition, and Indigenous people over 50 years are advised to stay home as much as possible, as they fall within the highest risk category for contracting coronavirus.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Caring for our aging community and people living with a disability is a high priority for the City of Whittlesea.

We are adhering to all government and health advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure essential services to these residents are delivered in a way that keeps our community and our staff safe and healthy.

Will I still get my delivered meals?

Delivered meals are continuing as normal. All clients have been contacted to discuss their current needs and the possibilities of delivering additional meals for freezing. To find out more about these services phone our Intake Officer on 9407 5935.

Can I still access home support?

This service is continuing as normal. We are calling clients to make sure they are ‘well / healthy’ enough to receive their regular service. To find out more about accessing assistance around the home, contact our Intake Officer on 9407 5935.

Can I still access support for carers?

All support for carer programs have been cancelled until further notice.

Are programs for seniors still running?

All events and programs have been cancelled to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes the Ageing Well Expo in June, and the following LEAP programs:

  • Seniors Exercise
  • Multicultural Cinema
  • Bus Trips
  • Golf Program Twilight Activity Program

Can senior’s clubs still meet?

Senior’s clubs are considered non-essential gatherings and are therefore suspended until further notice.

Are social support/planned activity groups still running?

This program has been suspended until further notice.

 

Will rangers still collect my pet if it gets out?

Yes our animal ranger services are still operating.

How do I pay my pet registration if the Council office is closed?

You can pay online. Our customer service desk is closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus so we will be unable to take payments in person at this time. You can call us on 9217 2170 if you need assistance with this process.

How can I register a new pet?

Download the form and submit via email or post. We are unable to take payments in person at this time. We’ll be in touch once the coronavirus situation eases.

How do I contact the Building and Planning Team?

Many of our building and planning services can be accessed via this webpage. You can also email or post your building or planning application to us. If you have any difficulties, please phone 9217 2259, Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm or email buildplan@whittlesea.vic.gov.au.

Community grants

We are committed to supporting local community groups and services.

One way we do this is through our annual grant programs where we support community groups deliver local projects and programs.

Like many businesses and organisations, we are adapting to the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, we are reviewing a number of service areas to identify where we can provide the best support to our community in a rapidly changing environment.

How will the grant programs change?

We are reviewing our current community grants to assess the best way to provide value to the whole community which is also adjusting to the effects of COVID-19.

Our new grant program/s will be developed in consultation with the community.

What if I’ve already been told my grant application has been approved?

You will still receive your grant. However, if your group has been affected by the pandemic and you are unable to deliver the program that was intended, please contact the Community Development Grants Officer on 9217 2397 or community.grants@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

I’ve submitted an application, what happens next?

Our grants programs are now on hold while we assess the best way to provide value to the whole community as we all adjust to the changing environment.

In light of many groups having to suspended programs or change the way they operate, we also want to ensure your community group has time to develop activities and projects that will be successful post-pandemic.

We will contact you in coming weeks with more information.

How will the new grants program/s be developed?

We will engage with the community on a draft grants program and incorporate feedback where appropriate.

What Council facilities are closed?

Customer service centres: closed

Community centres: closed

PRACC: is closed and all scheduled performances and events are cancelled until further notice.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library: all branches are closed

Pools and gyms: are closed

Sportsgrounds, playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor gyms and BBQ areas: closed 

Growling Frog Golf course: closed

Neigbourhood houses: closed

Libraries: closed

Is the 7 April Council meeting still going ahead?

Yes but to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we encourage people to enjoy the convenience of watching Council’s Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday 7 April from the comfort of their own home. 

People can watch the Council Meeting live using the City of Whittlesea YouTube channel, or view a recording of the Meeting on our website. 

 

What Council offices are currently closed?

  • Civic Centre, 25 Ferres Boulevard, South Morang
  • Council offices, Westfield Plenty Valley
  • EDGE Youth Services, Westfield Plenty Valley
  • Epping Works Depot, Houston Street, Epping

Why are the offices closed?

We’ve decided to close the council offices to visitors based on the advice from the Federal and State governments regarding places of gathering and social distancing. We want to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

When will you reopen?

At this stage, we don’t know when we will reopen our offices to visitors. The health of our community and staff is our priority. We’ll be monitoring the advice from the Federal and State governments and reopen when it is safe to do so. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.

How can I get in touch with Council?

We’re still working and providing many of our usual services. Please feel free to contact us. If you normally visit us at one of our council offices, we ask that you please use the self-serve options online, phone or email us.

Have Council events been cancelled?

All events and gatherings have been cancelled until June.

Are citizenship ceremonies still happening?

No. Citizenship ceremonies have been cancelled until further notice as part of our efforts to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Is the immunisation service running?

Yes. Immunisation is a critical service for our community. We will continue to provide immunisation sessions across the City of Whittlesea. However, strict rules that have been imposed by the Australian and Victorian government on good advice from health experts means that some of our venues are not appropriate for this service. As a result, we have made some changes that will ensure we continue delivering for our community.

How are immunisation services changing?

  • From Monday 6 April 2020, all bookings for public immunisation sessions will be done online
  • When you attend your session, social distancing measures will be enforced.
  • Some changes have to been made to the immunisation timetable with services at some of the locations suspended for the remainder of 2020.

Why are these changes occuring?

The City of Whittlesea, like most organisations, is adapting to the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Immunisation is a critical service and we are making some changes to the way we conduct our public sessions to ensure we can keep our community and our staff safe.

Which venues will no longer have immunisation sessions?

The following venues are too small to be able to safely conduct immunisation sessions during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Jindi Family and Community Centre in Mernda
  • Lalor Library
  • Mill Park Community Centre
  • Hazel Glen Child and Family Centre in Doreen

As a result, immunisation sessions at these venues have suspended for 2020.

Where can people still receive immunisations?

Families can still attend sessions at:

  • Galada Community Centre in Epping
  • Mill Park Baptist Church
  • Council Civic Centre in South Morang
  • Mernda Village Community Activity Centre
  • Thomastown library

A revised timetable will be available online.

What additional measures are in place at the venues?

Once you arrive at the venue, you will be asked to do the following:

  • Wait in your car until your appointment time
  • One parent or guardian to accompany a child for their immunisation appointment

Please do not attend an immunisation session if you or your child:

  • is unwell in any way
  • have returned from overseas within the past 14 days (self-isolation period)

Workplace immunisation

Community immunisation is our priority. To ensure we can meet these needs as best we can, we have suspended our flu vaccination service for workplaces. You will still be able to receive a flu vaccine, once they are available, at a community immunisation session.

Even though community centres are shut, you’ll still be able to access them for immunisation sessions.

Read more about public immunisations sessions.

How do I enrol my child in kindergarten?

Enrolment can be made by email, online or phone. Visit this webpage for more information.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library branches are currently closed.

Library members can still access books online via their eLibrary.

There are different apps you can download and use your YPRL to access ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers, music and learning.

visit www.yprl.vic.gov.au for more information

 

 

How have Maternal and Child Health services changed?

From Wednesday 25th March all MCH services provided by the City of Whittlesea are now offered by phone until further notice.

This follows advice from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Home and centre visits will be replaced by a phone call from your MCH nurse at the booked appointment time. 

Where deemed clinically essential by your MCH nurse, short face to face consultations (of no more than 15 minutes) may go ahead.

Parents should be reassured that the evidence so far is babies and children under 5 years old are at a reduced risk of serious illness from coronavirus.

If you are concerned, please call the 24-hour MCH line on 13 22 29. 

Why has my MCH appointment moved to a phone consultation?

 To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has advised councils in Victoria to conduct all MCH appointments by phone until further notice. 

Will the MCH nurse call me?

Yes. Your MCH nurse will call you at your booked appointment time.  Please note that the call may come up on your phone as a private number. 

How does a phone consultation work?

The move to MCH phone consultations will still allow us to assess that your baby is growing and healthy and we will talk to you more about this at your first phone consultation.

How will you measure my baby's head?

Your MCH nurse can talk you through how to measure your baby’s head if you have tape measure.  However, this is only one indicator that your baby is growing and healthy.

How will you check my baby's weight?

If you have scales we will talk you through weighing your baby. Again, your baby’s weight is only one measure of its development and we will ask other questions that will help to assess your baby’s health and well-being.  A short face to face consultation (of no more than 15 minutes) can be set up if it deemed clinically essential by your MCH nurse.

What about newborn babies?

Your hospital will discuss follow up appointments with you when you are discharged.  When your baby is between 10 to 14 days old, you will be contacted by our home visiting coordinator who will discuss and arrange MCH phone consultations with you.

Please note, that to protect the health and wellbeing of parents, babies and staff, first time parent groups are not going ahead.

Where can I go for breastfeeding help?

f you have any concerns regarding your baby’s feeding, please call Council on 9404 8888 to make an appointment for a phone consultation with a lactation consultant.  Breastfeeding drop in sessions will not run, but again you can ring and schedule an appointment to speak to a lactation consultant. 

You can also call  the 24-hour MCH line on 13 22 29. 

Is there an app I can use?

There is an excellent Maternal and Child Health App that you can download. This will allow you to plot your baby’s growth and weight and your MCH nurse will be able to talk you through using this. 

Here's more information about the app:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/maternal-and-child-health-app

How do I apply for a disability parking permit?

Applications can be sent to us by mail, or scanned and emailed to us.

How do I make a payment?

Most payments can be made on this webpage or by posting a cheque or money order. Building and planning payments can be made over the phone: 9217 2259.

Are playgrounds and skateparks closed?

Yes. From Monday 30 March all playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor gyms are CLOSED following an announcement from the Prime Minister. Barbecues in parks will be closed too.

Are sportsgrounds closed?

Yes

What about sporting clubs?

The Federal Government has prohibited social sporting-based activities.

Which parks are closed?

Parks Victoria has announced a number of park and facility closures.

To find out which ones visit their website: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/

Why is mowing and gardening still continuing?

Council is continuing to provide essential services including maintaining our City. This includes mowing, where social distancing rules can be applied.

Is my kerbside collection still continuing?

Yes, it is an essential service. 

We know there are more cars than usual parked in local streets right now with many people working, or just staying, at home. To help our drivers get to your bins, please make sure they are placed on the kerb away from any obstructions.

Is the rubbish tip still open?

Hanson’s Wollert Landfill and the recycling facility at 480 Cooper Street Epping are closed to the public from Wednesday 25 March.

These measures have been put in place to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

These changes do not affect kerbside bin collections.

Council will review the vouchers provided to residents for these facilities when they re-open to public.  

What about hard waste collections?

There is not change to our hard waste collection service at this time.

Information for business

The outbreak of Coronavirus is causing economic disruption in many sectors including tourism and hospitality, education, entertainment, property, resources, and international supply chains. The below information aims to help City of Whittlesea businesses navigate the latest support available.

    • Employer Responsibilities 
    • Rent support for Small Businesses
    • Stimulus package
    • Food businesses
    • Victorian Business Hotline  

Ensure you keep up-to-date with the Commonwealth's Support for business in Australia and the State Government's Coronavirus business support websites.

The most recent support available is the Jobseeker Payment initiative. Businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy to continue paying their employees.

As part of a $1.7 billion economic survival package, the Victorian Government has announced $500 million to establish a Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Victorian Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Ai Group to administer the fund to help businesses survive and keep people in work.

Applications are now open online.

Mentoring
Free mentoring sessions will be provided by the Small Business Mentoring Service and Box Hill Business Enterprise Centre. Please apply via email to:

Webinars
If you are an expert in the following topics, email Rebecca Ganicoche, Business Engagement Officer. We're currently looking for local presenters to host webinars for our local business community.

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Mental health
  • Online networking
  • Working remotely

Facebook promotions
We are currently promoting local businesses on our ‘South Morang Farmers and Makers Market’ Facebook page. We aim to let the community know alternative ways to engage your business. Please email Amy Berthelot, South Morang Farmers and Makers Market project officer, if wish to participate

Encouraging local residents to support local businesses is crucial than ever before. If your food or hospitality business is still trading and you've implemented new ways of working, i.e.; home delivery, then let us know.

We are listing our food and hospitality businesses on Council's Whittlesea Tourism website. To have your businesses included, tell us your;

  • Business name
  • Address, phone number and website or Facebook link
  • Brief description of your business and any special offer

Send these details, with a photo that represents your business to business@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health information

  • Information from the DHHS / COVID-19 health information 
  • Hand washing tips
  • Myth busting 
  • How to slow the spread and flatten the curve 

What can I do to protect myself from infection?

Practise good hygiene:

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication ensure you have adequate supplies.
  • Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep, and try to quit smoking.
  • Don't wear a face mask if you are well.
  • Try and buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60% alcohol.
  • Get the flu shot.
  • Avoid shaking hands and other physical contact, if possible. The advice is to remain 1.5m away from another person.

Practise social distancing

Follow the limits for public gatherings

Understand how to self-isolate if you need to

Where can I learn more?

World Health Organisation has updated international information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

The most reliable information on the coronavirus can be found on both the Victorian and Australian government’s websites.

Victorian Government 
www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
1800 675 398

Australian Government
www.health.gov.au or www.australia.gov.au
1800 020 080

There is a self assessment tool available on the DHHS website which helps assess if you are at risk of COVID-19.

Download the Australian Government's app:

Join the Australian Government's WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

Resources

Check in on vulnerable community members

In times like this it is important that we band together and provide support for our most vulnerable community members, such as the elderly and those with disability.

While the message is to practice self-isolation, there are some simple ways you can still help out your neighbours.

If you know someone who might be in need, you can create a calling card you can drop by their house offering simple things such as picking up supermarket items for them or simply having a chat over the phone.

Shop local

Here's a list of local restaurants offering takeaway and delivery.

Coronavirus information for Aboriginal communities: DHHS

SBS information hub in multiple languages: SBS website

DPV Health multicultural resources: DPV Health