Shires ready contingencies
The Harvey and Waroona shire councils are preparing contingency plans for the weeks and months to come in the wake of the new restrictions handed down by the Federal Government on Sunday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new and more drastic measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, including closing pubs, clubs, gyms and cinemas.
Harvey shire executive staff met yesterday to discuss how to approach the new measures, and the Waroona Shire Council will discuss its next steps at a meeting tonight.
The Waroona Recreation and Aquatic Centre and the Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre are now closed, as are many local venues, sporting clubs and groups.
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Harvey shire president Paul Gillett said much would need to change in the coming weeks as people in the shire learnt to adapt to the new measures.
“I dare say we will have put some contingencies in place to keep everything ticking along,” he said.
Cr Gillett urged people to stay informed and to keep doing “the right thing” and what the Harvey communities had always done.
“We always look after each other here. We need to stay positive and look after one another,” he said.
“I urge people to keep following the up-to-date health advice from the State and Federal governments and follow the advice to the letter.
Waroona shire president Mike Walmsley said the current situation and government restrictions were unprecedented.
“The effects are going to be staggering. It is going to be a different world after this, even if the virus is taken out in the next month or two,” he said.
Cr Walmsley said morale was still good and some shire staff were now working from home.
He also said some people in the shire were self-isolating after returning from holiday.
“We’re taking as much advice as we can from from the health authorities, which is changing almost daily,” he said.
Waroona and Murray shire staff held an emergency response meeting last week, but Cr Walmsley said even the measures discussed just days ago are no longer relevant, with further plans to be discussed at council tonight.
“We may enable some of the budget to be spent on emergency measures,” Cr Walmsley said, adding that a variety of contingencies would be broached.
“Now is the time for communities to stick together, especially by helping the elderly,” he said. “We’re telling people to stay calm and help each other out, even if it’s just keeping people informed.”
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