RUSSELL Vale Golf Course, skate parks and playgrounds have reopened today, with Corrimal heated pools to follow next week, as Wollongong City Council starts to ease coronavirus restrictions.
From today (Friday May 15), the Council have begun to remove tape from playgrounds and will update signage in public spaces after it received formal advice and legal permission from the NSW State Government.
Helensburgh, Thirroul and Corrimal libraries will remain closed.
Bulli and Corrimal Tourist Parks will also remain closed to anyone who is not a long-term guest, or in the case of self-contained cabins, someone who needs accommodation for the purpose of essential travel only.
Campsites continue to be unavailable, new caravan sites will not be hired, and public amenities also remain closed.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury said while children and families can return to playgrounds, skate parks, and outdoor fitness equipment is available once again, residents are asked to stick to public health guidelines, and physical distancing advice, while they’re using equipment.
“The steps to reduce the severity of the Public Health Order will, I know, be welcomed by people who want more opportunities to get out and about, but I ask everyone to do so with caution,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
“Coronavirus continues to be a real risk and a threat to our community, and we can’t be complacent. These changes will allow people to move more freely but they should do so while continuing to follow health and hygiene practices and maintaining physical distancing.’’
Lifeguards will return to North Wollongong Beach at 9am on Saturday May 19, and will resume standard winter supervision hours from 9am to 4pm seven days a week. The remainder of the northern beaches remain closed for winter.
Preparation is also underway to reopen Corrimal heated pool from next week.
From early next week a booking system will be in place for swimmers who will be able to reserve a 30-minute swimming slot. In line with the NSW Public Health Order, the change rooms will remain closed, the toilets will be open and only one person per swim lane is permitted.
In addition to the 30-minute swim booking, users will be encouraged to arrive five minutes before their allocated time slot, and will have 15 minutes after their time in the pool on the pool deck for drying and dressing.
As Council works through the new process it will continue to monitor and review the pool operations to ensure they’re meeting the updated health regulations.
“The changes to our playgrounds and skate parks, the flags going up at North Wollongong Beach and the reopening of selected pools are steps many in our community will welcome,’’ Cr Bradbery said.
“However, the NSW State Government have clear guidelines in place to support the updated Public Health Order and they stipulate we must continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, we must continue best hygiene practices and to continue effectively washing our hands, containing sneezes and using tissues, and to stay home if you are sick.
“We are not out of the woods with coronavirus and it is important we continue to do the best by everyone in our community – especially our vulnerable members,” he said.
“I know some people will be champing at the bit to let their kids loose in the playground, while others will be more reluctant. To that I say to parents and carers it’s your call but there is no opting out of the hygiene and physical distancing requirements. Do the right thing for you and the ones you love.’’
Council said it is working with local providers and staff through the updated requirements around funerals and gatherings at in cemeteries, and at the chapels at Wollongong Memorial Gardens. The changes include the number of people who may attend the service, and the need to capture the details of all people at a service. Further information and updates on any changes will be shared over the coming days.
Services and facilities that remain unchanged at this time include the closure of Council’s Administration Building and Customer Service centre (Customer Service is available online and over the phone), Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres, and all libraries, including Helensburgh, Thirroul and Corrimal.
The barriers placed to restrict and reduce access to the Bald Hill car park will be removed on Monday May 18.
The following services remain closed to the public:
- Wollongong City Council’s Administration Building.
- Council’s Customer Service Centre. The team will be available online and over the phone only.
- libraries – online services will continue to be available through the Library’s website.
- Wollongong Art Gallery.
- Wollongong Youth Centre.
- Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres.
- All community facility buildings (excluding childcare centres and those Centres providing approved essential services)
- Wollongong Council’s Friday Men’s Shed
- Volunteering Illawarra
- Wollongong City Council’s interpreter service
The following key services are open or reopening:
- All playspaces, outdoor fitness equipment and skateparks
- Russell Vale Golf Course, pro shop and social club – with restrictions in place
- Supervised swimming pools at Corrimal, Continental, and Dapto (from next week)
- North Wollongong Beach – from 9am, Saturday May 16
- Wollongong Botanic Garden, remains open. However, the Friends of the Botanic Garden program, and all public programs, are suspended until further notice.
- Wollongong Memorial Gardens
- Wollongong Tourist Parks. The parks will be closed to anyone who is not a long-term guest, or in the case of our self-contained cabins, someone who needs accommodation for the purpose of essential travel only. Campsites will no longer be available, new caravan sites will not be hired and public amenities have been closed.
- Council staff will remain working at this time, to support ongoing service delivery.
There will be no changes to household waste collections and Wollongong Waste and Resource Recovery Park (Whyte’s Gully) will remain open. However, payment at the Park will be by card only. Cash is no longer accepted.
Council’s Community Transport services will continue to provide essential services, such as trips to attend medical appointments or shopping for necessities such as food. Respite services for Carers is available to existing customers.
Contact Council’s Community Transport and Social Support teams to confirm service arrangements. Staff are contacting customers and volunteers on a regular basis to check on their health and wellbeing.
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