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An Easter like no other

Thursday, 09 April 2020

As we move into the second month since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, we continue to take stock and assess what we have done as a community so far to help ‘flatten the curve’, and how we can continue to put in place measures that will best protect our special, unique Borough.

These decisions are governed by the advice and restrictions practiced by the Victorian Government’s Department of Health & Human Services. It’s there where you’ll find the latest information and statistics, updated daily, at dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. I urge you to keep up to date with that website as well as the regular addresses from the Premier and Prime Minister for the latest coronavirus information.

On a local business front, it’s been encouraging to see how our traders in the Borough – particularly the hospitality and retail sectors – have been adapting to the enforced restrictions with the support of our loyal residents. Many of your favourite restaurants and cafes are offering extended takeaway menus with a large number of them also offering free delivery within the Borough. This pandemic has asked a lot of our businesses, it has required them to adapt quickly and remain agile throughout what is an unknown situation for all of us. We ask that, for as long as possible and within your means, that you please support our locals.

This will be an Easter like no other, and sadly it won’t be one similar to those we have all enjoyed in the past. Here's a suggestion – instead of going out and buying up lots of chocolate this Easter, purchase a gift voucher from a local business instead. Many of our boutique shops have online stores and vouchers available right now. By shopping online or over the phone, you’ll be able to support your favourite local businesses and have a little piece of the Borough delivered until we’re able to have visitors again. They will appreciate it more than you may ever know.

To those that may be considering visiting over Easter, we ask you to remember that ‘stay at home’ means stay at home. Our community is lucky enough to have a thriving elderly population, but some of these residents need extra support from all of us during this difficult time. That's why Council's home care teams are working around the clock to keep delivering essential services, and why we're asking everyone to call – not visit – your family and friends in the Borough. By following health advice and avoiding visiting the Borough, you’ll help us protect our community's most vulnerable residents.

It is pleasing to see the overwhelming majority of Borough residents following the social distancing guidelines across our shops, streets, parks and beaches. It will take a cooperative effort for us to get through this as a community. On a personal note, although my family is in lockdown, it’s lovely to have our two daughters home from university. Pippa, our dog, is very happy for the attention! To help reduce non-essential travel, I’ve been having lots of mayoral forums using Zoom. I think the new ways in which people have embraced technology, finding things to do during isolation, and keeping themselves entertained could mean we may never go back to the way life was before COVID-19.

To everyone in the Borough and beyond, please stay safe and well. Call your family, call your friends. Check in and make sure they are doing okay. This will be long and difficult, but we’ll come out the other side together.