Local updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Published: 13 Mar 2020 10:05am

We have now created a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates section on our website, which means this page will no longer be updated.

Go to the Novel Coronavius (COVID-19) page on our site for updates, resources and support.

Wagga Wagga City Council working with business and industry groups to combat effect of COVID-19 on local economy

Released: 20 March 2020

Wagga Wagga City Council today announced it would be collaborating with business and industry groups to help support local businesses manage the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Council was heartened by support from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and State Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr who also voiced their support for the local area.

Council today met with representatives from the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber, Women in Business Wagga Wagga and the Committee4Wagga to discuss practical measures to aid businesses in need.

Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Greg Conkey OAM said it was critical that the business community supported each other.

“These are unprecedented times. We’re taking a combined approach in the city to mitigate the potential economic impact on our local community,” Cr Conkey said.

“Together, we’ll be coordinating information, encouraging innovation and promoting local businesses.

“We’re also strongly encouraging residents to support their local businesses in whatever way they can. We’re certainly not in a lock-down situation, so we’d like to encourage activity within the region.

“We’re working with business and industry groups to support them in these tough times.

“We need to listen to each other and learn together. We’re open to suggestions and look forward to hearing from businesses that may discover ways they can support each other,” Cr Conkey said.

“We are very fortunate to have such a strong and close-knit community. I’m confident that if we work together, we can help our local business community get through the coming weeks and months.”

“We’ll be developing a strategy in partnership with local business committees and will announce further details next week.”

Council move to encourage business activity

Released: 19 March 2020

For a period of at least six weeks, Wagga Wagga City Council will not be enforcing any condition on development approvals which limits delivery times to retailers in the Council area, General Manager Peter Thompson confirmed today (19 March).

Similarly, Council will not be enforcing the restrictions on areas for footpath dining.

The purpose for this decision is to allow traders to separate seating and to encourage continued business activity.

Council requests that businesses consult with neighbouring businesses to reach agreed approaches to footpath seating.

Council’s planning department can be contacted for clarification or assistance in individual circumstances.

The approach will be reviewed and extended as required to support our community.

Call 1300 292 442 and ask for the planning department for further information or to request assistance.

Council update on business operations around COVID-19

Released: 18 March 2020

Wagga Wagga City Council has today confirmed various changes to its business operations and public events in relation to the management of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at this time.

Council continues to take advice and guidance from the New South Wales Government (NSW Health) and the Federal Government (Department of Health) which are the lead agencies in this situation.

The latest advice received is a change around mass gatherings and large scale events and the affect this will have on public facilities and events.

The Federal Government has advised the number of people at indoor events now be restricted to 100 people.

Acting upon this advice, Council has made the decision to close the Civic Theatre to the public and has cancelled or postponed a number of performances scheduled in coming weeks. Theatre staff will be in contact with all ticket holders.

The Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre, the Wagga City Library and the Wagga Art Gallery will remain open at this stage, but numbers of people at the facility will be restricted to 100 people at any one time.

Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Greg Conkey OAM said an important message remained around personal hygiene and the need to practise social distancing in public spaces.

“The Civic Theatre has closed to the public because of the advice received around limiting numbers at public events,” Cr Conkey said.

“The number has changed from 500 people to 100 people for indoor spaces, and that advice has affected the theatre’s operations.

“The Oasis will continue to operate at the moment but will follow the advice of keeping numbers limited to 100 people. This is the same for the library and the art gallery.

“In these circumstances we thank the community for their patience and understanding, particularly in regards to the Oasis. The well-being of the community and also Council staff members is paramount.

“We continue to urge people to maintain a good level of personal hygiene by regularly washing their hands with soap and water. It is also advised to practise social distancing when in public spaces.”

Cr Conkey said Council is exploring online options for the community to remotely access library services.

“The library is a fantastic community service and we want people to be able to access as many services as possible to provide that continuation of service,” Cr Conkey said.

“Council staff are looking at options for delivering certain programs online, such as the popular Storytime which many children look forward to.”

Cr Conkey has also urged the community to be mindful of the materials they flush down the toilet in the current toilet paper shortage.

“Community members are strongly encouraged to be aware of the materials they flush down the toilet,” he said.

“Foreign items, particularly wipes, have the potential to block sewer pipes and cause significant problems.”

Council will continue to review this situation consistent with the advice of the lead agencies.

The community will be updated if the situation changes.

There are still no reported cases in the region.

For more information:

Department of Health (Federal)

NSW Health (State)

Watch the video of Mayor Greg Conkey OAM give an update following the PM's announcement this morning

Large scale events impacted by COVID-19

Released: 13 March 2020

A decision has been made to not hold mass gatherings and large-scale events involving visitors from outside the region in the next few months, Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Greg Conkey OAM said today.

This will impact the Wagga Mardi Gras which will not go ahead this weekend, and could mean the Canberra Raiders’ NRL match in Wagga next month could be cancelled or conducted without an audience.

This decision was made after consultation with local health district clinician experts and senior management, as a means of slowing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19); so those affected, especially the vulnerable, will continue to have access to the best care possible.

Wagga Wagga Mayor Cr Greg Conkey said the decision was extremely disappointing but was taken as a precaution in relation to the management of Coronavirus.

“This decision was made after extensive consultation with the event organiser, local health professionals and other relevant agencies today,” Cr Conkey said.

“Coronavirus is a highly transmissible disease and our advice at this time is to limit exposure at large scale events which will attract many people.

“I want to thank Mardi Gras organiser Holly Conroy for her understanding. It was not an easy decision to make and we appreciate Holly’s support.”

Ms Conroy said the decision to cancel the event was disappointing but it had been made in the best interests of the community.

“We listened to the advice of health officials. We know this is a precautionary measure in the current situation,” Ms Conroy said.

“We are positive about the long-term future of this event, and tonight we want to celebrate our diversity at our show which is still going ahead at Que Bar.

“Tonight will be our Wagga Mardi Gras. If people are disappointed Mardi Gras is not going ahead then come along and support the show.”

Cr Conkey said cancelling Mardi Gras was not a reason for community members to panic about Coronavirus.

“We are acting on the best advice of local health specialists … and that advice is to limit possible exposure to Coronavirus,” Cr Conkey said.

“I stress this is a precautionary measure in the current circumstances.”

Cr Conkey said a decision on future events would be made on a case-by-case basis.

“Council staff will be in contact with event organisers and assessing which events this may also have an impact,” Cr Conkey said.

He said Council staff will be speaking with NRL and Canberra Raiders officials in regards to next month’s game in Wagga Wagga. Discussions will also be held with organisers of other events such as the Food & Wine Festival, and ANZAC Day.

Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr MP said he supported Council's decision to not hold large-scale events.

This decision was not made lightly and was deeply disappointing for those involved and the community at-large, he said.

“This decision has been made based on advice from our local health officer, following several meetings with council, service representatives and event organisers,” Dr McGirr said.

“We know COVID-19 is highly transmissible and so we need to consider the risks associated with large-scale events like the Wagga Mardi Gras this weekend and others in the near future.

“This is not a call for panic. This is a call for common sense. We know the virus is spreading and we need to limit this as much as possible, so the burden on our health system is manageable.

“While for most people, the impact of the virus may be minor – and that is important to note – it is highly transmissible and mass gatherings could increase the risk of its rapid spread across Wagga Wagga. We need to mitigate these risks.”

For more information:

Department of Health (Federal)

NSW Health (State)

Media conference to announce cancellation of 2020 Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras

Council taking advice from lead agencies on COVID-19

Released: 12 March 2020

Wagga Wagga City Council is taking its advice and guidance from NSW State Government (NSW Health) and the Federal Government (Department of Health) which are the lead agencies in relation to the management of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

The advice currently is that the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee consider that public events should proceed and has publicly issued this position.

Both the NSW Government and the Federal Government agencies will update this position if needed and Council will follow their updates to ensure it is in step with the State and National position.

For more information:

Department of Health (Federal)

NSW Health (State)