The Shire of Augusta Margaret River has announced the cessation of non-essential, public-facing services in a bid to preserve both staff and community safety as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to unfold.
Shire Administration Centres, Recreation Centre, Libraries, and Margaret River HEART have closed to the public, and Caravan Parks have stopped taking new bookings and check-ins.
The only exemptions to the public facilities shut down are services that are currently being determined as essential, such as outside school hours care where the Shire will continue to operate as long as it is legally possible (noting that crèche services are already suspended), and waste facilities.
Shire of Augusta Margaret River Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Addison-Brown said current goals were to continue to delivering as many community services possible via alternative means.
"We are closing down public facilities but we want for our community to know that staff and key stakeholders are working as quickly as possible to identify alternative means of service delivery," she said.
"We will look at options for online and phone customer support, online or downloadable fitness classes, drive through or mobile library services, and any other options we can identify as being safe and in line with the changing State Government health guidelines.
"It may take some time to work through the exact arrangements for all of our services and facilities, but we be proactive in keeping people informed at regular intervals.
"We will certainly endeavour to be responsive to the community's needs and concerns at this time."
Ms Addison-Brown said the Shire's leadership team is investigating options to offer financial support and relief to residents, ratepayers, businesses and community groups.
"Again we have a number of ideas on table and will be urgently working through the viability of the options," she said.
"Hopefully we will be in a position to put the proposed support package to Council by Wednesday and inform everyone as to the measures shortly thereafter."
The formation of the Shire's COVID-19 Pandemic Response Liaison Group was endorsed by Council last week, with membership including the Shire President, Deputy Shire President, one Councillor, CEO, Directors and the Community Emergency Services Manager.
Updates in regards to the Shire's operations and community support packages will be announced via the Shire's Facebook page www.facebook.com/AMRShire/, and listed in further detail on the Shire's website www.amrshire.wa.gov.au
Information about the Recreation Centre membership suspensions is available at www.recreation.amrshire.wa.gov.au