Information and advice about COVID-19

Information and advice about COVID-19

Friday, 15 May 2020

In-line with the easing of restrictions by the NSW Government, Council has opened the following facilities: Playgrounds, Dog Parks, Fitness Equipment, BBQ’s, Basketball facilities, Skate Parks, Tennis Courts, Cricket Nets and the Tench Reserve Boat ramp.

As the community becomes more active and gets back to business, it's important that we

  • follow the NSW rules for gatherings that apply to individuals and businesses
  • maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others
  • practise good hand hygiene
  • stay active and healthy
  • take extra care if you're around vulnerable people
  • get tested if you have any symptoms, even if they are only mild
  • stay home until you get the test result, or are medically cleared.

The Civic Centre, libraries, leisure centres and pools, and are still temporarily closed to customers from close of business on Monday 23 March, 2020 to limit interactions and protect staff and the community. This arrangement will be in place until further notice.

3-step plan

Council has received a number of enquiries since the Prime Minister’s announcement of the 3-step plan as the country moves to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

It is for each State to ease the restrictions having regard to their own circumstances.

Council can only lift restrictions when they are amended in the Public Health Order.

When the new Public Health Orders comes into effect, Council will endeavour to implement those changes as soon as practical and in accordance with the Order.

Online Services 

Online Services allows residents to access services 24/7, report problems and lodge requests. It covers services such as bins and waste, parks, building and venues, roads and footpaths, trees and vegetation. Click here to access Online Services.

What is Council Doing to Help?

Assistance for property owners

Ratepayers will soon receive their final quarterly rates notices for the 2019-20 year, but the message from Council is “please don’t worry”. While Council has legal obligations to continue to send rates notices according to the pre-determined schedule, there are plans in place to assist those who have been adversely affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. Businesses and ratepayers can enter a payment arrangement or seek to amend an existing payment arrangement to suit their current financial position. Council’s Rates team will continue to deal with everyone experiencing hardship with compassion. Council encourages anyone in our community experiencing financial strain to contact our Rates team on 4732 7676 if you have any concerns.

Support for Cafes and Restaurants
A relief package will see Council waive charges and fees relating to outdoor and footpath dining permits for 33 businesses in the Penrith and St Marys CBD’s over the next 12 months.

Providing Financial Relief for Commercial Tenants
We are working closely with our commercial tenants who are currently facing economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Council Staff
We have transitioned the majority of Council’s 1200-strong workforce into remote working. Those staff who are unable to work remotely are being supported to remain in employment.

Childcare Centres Remain Open
Council-operated Childcare Centres provide an important service to our community. While many essential workers still require childcare, we continue to provide it, with social distancing measures being implemented. This ensures that both children and parents are being looked after.

Health information and advice 

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. The virus is highly contagious, but good hygiene can prevent infection. Read more about the virus on the NSW Health website.

There are a number of ways you can help slow the spread of the virus in our community including practising good hygiene and social distancing.

Good hygiene practices can help prevent the spread of this virus in our community. Good hygiene includes:

  • covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • disposing of tissues properly
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • washing your hands often with soap and water
  • using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
  • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly
  • if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people.

Read more about basic protective measures from the World Health Organization.

Another way to slow the spread of viruses is through social distancing. This means:

  • staying at home when you are unwell
  • avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential
  • keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible
  • minimising physical contact (including shaking hands) especially with people at higher risk, such as older people and people with existing health conditions.

Symptoms can include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you are sick and think you have symptoms of COVID-19 seek medical attention. If you want to talk to someone about your symptoms first, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case or after returning to Australia from overseas, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to be tested. If you have a confirmed case, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent it spreading to other people.

Council Services

From COB Monday 23 March, Council will temporarily close the Civic Centre until further notice to limit interactions and protect staff and the community. We will continue to respond to customer enquiries via phone and online.

Many essential Council services, including Waste Services and Children’s Services, will continue to operate as normal, however some other services will operate at reduced capacity until further notice. During this time a number of scheduled and/or regular work activities may be delayed including:

  • Mowing of Council’s sports fields, reserves and parks
  • Graffiti removal
  • Road works
  • Tree inspections and removals
  • Building safety inspections
  • Bush Care services
  • Health inspections
  • Development Services

Customer requests should be logged through Council’s My Penrith online self-service portal during this time.

During COVID-19 restrictions, current SoD certificates can continue to be displayed, although new SoD certificates will be issued after the next routine inspection, when normal food program operations re-commence.

Assistance for property owners 

Ratepayers will soon receive their final quarterly rates notices for the 2019-20 year, but the message from Council is “please don’t worry”. While Council has legal obligations to continue to send rates notices according to the pre-determined schedule, there are plans in place to assist those who have been adversely affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. Businesses and ratepayers can enter a payment arrangement or seek to amend an existing payment arrangement to suit their current financial position. Council’s Rates team will continue to deal with everyone experiencing hardship with compassion. Council encourages anyone in our community experiencing financial strain to contact our Rates team on 4732 7676 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any concerns.

Closures

Following the direction of the NSW and Australian Governments and the relevant health authorities, Council has closed a number of facilities from COB 23 March until further notice.

Following the direction of the NSW and Australian Governments and the relevant health authorities, effective from Monday 30 March, 2020 the following facilities are closed until further notice:

  • Penrith Civic Centre
  • Ripples Leisure Centres in Penrith and St Marys
  • Penrith Regional Gallery
  • The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
  • All Library branches
  • Community halls, neighbourhood facilities and recreation centres
  • Splash pads (closed for winter)

Parks, reserves and open spaces remain open and are subject to new public gathering restrictions of no more than 10 people  and distancing of 1.5 metres.

Events

Following the direction of the NSW and Australian Governments and the relevant health authorities Council has made the difficult decision to cancel, suspend or postpone a number of community and civic events.

Where possible, events that can be rescheduled will be moved to another date later in the year when the outbreak has been contained and it is safe to do so. Regrettably, there are a small number of events that will be cancelled and invitees notified.

Future events will be monitored and a decision made on their ability to proceed using the latest information available from Government and health authorities. Known event cancellations and postponements are listed below:

  • Reimagine Ageing Festival
  • Improve Your Strength and Flexibility workshop – 25 March
  • Stepping On workshop – 25 March
  • Getting to Know Your Community Aged Care Services workshop – 26 March
  • Grant Workshops
  • Grant Writing Workshop – 25 March
  • Empowering Community Groups to Access Funding Workshop – 2 April
  • Open Mic Night, Triangle Park, Penrith – 26 March
  • Penrith Producers, Triangle Park – 3 April
  • Village Cafe at Kingswood, Llandilo and North St Marys
  • Harmony Day – 26 March
  • Good Neighbour Day Celebration, Coachman’s Park, St Marys, 27 March
  • Sydney Writers’ Festival – 30 April
  • All library events including Little Seekers Story Time, Baby Time and Toy Library
  • All citizenship ceremonies

 Information contained within this news release was correct as at Friday 17 April 2020.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Friday, 15 May 2020.