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Update

Last updated: 3 April, 2020 08:39am

As this is an emerging situation, the following information is accurate at the time of publication and may change without further notice.

This page has been established to provide relevant information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) for the Shire of Esperance Community.

The Shire of Esperance is committed to the health, wellbeing and safety of our staff and community. COVID-19 is a growing concern so we are following the advice of the Australian and State Governments and Western Australia Department of Health to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and community.

It’s important we all continue to look out for and support each other and continue to keep our community safe.

Staying Informed
The best place to stay informed on COVID-19 pandemic, including updates, alerts and resources, is to visit the Australian Government's Department of Health and the Healthy WA website.

If you are concerned about COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

FAQs

What is the Shire doing in response to the situation?

The Shire is responding according to the Australian and Western Australian Government’s direction.

The Shire has activated our Emergency Plan and our Business Continuity Plan so we can continue to deliver key services. Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to modify our services and introduce other necessary measures to help keep the community safe.

What changes are being made to Shire of Esperance services and facilities?

We're temporarily changing the way we do business and deliver services to our community during the COVID-19 health pandemic. You can contact us via phone, email and online.

Shire services and facilities that are open, with normal business hours:

The Administration Office is open and following strict social distancing protocols as set by the government. Effective Monday, 30 March, office hours will be as follows:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 9am – 4pm
    Front Counter and reception is open with minimal staff and strict social distance protocols in place as set by the government. All licensing and shire related transactions will be available during the opening times. For any queries or online assistance customers can call:
    • Shire and Licensing queries - 9071 0666
    • Department of Transport Licensing payments and queries - 13 11 56
    • Department of Transport Licensing payments - 1300 655 322

For Department of Transport services we encourage you to review their website to evaluate the seriousness of your transaction online.

Esperance Volunteer Resource Centre office is closed, but contactable via:

Esperance Visitor Centre office is closed, but contactable via:

Homecare Office is open and following the social distance protocols in place as set by the government. Services are continuing as normal with additional measures implemented for infection control and continually monitored to ensure clients and staff remain safe.

Esperance Public Library is closed, but contactable via:

The overnight returns slot at the front door is in place to allow patrons to return items.

The Library has extended all renewal dates on currently borrowed items to 10 June 2020.

There are a range of eResources which can be accessed from home, via your digital devices. These resources include audio books, eBooks, eMagazines and movies. More information can be found at www.esperance.wa.gov.au/eresources 

A “Click and Collect Loan Service” is has been introduced with strict sanitisation protocols implemented. Upon return, the items are isolated for up to a week and then cleaned before being available for loan again. Please be patient with our evolving, adapting service.

Esperance Airport is open and following the social distance protocols in place as set by the government.
Please refer to the Rex Airlines website for up to date information on flight schedules.
 
Wylie Bay Waste Facility should only be visited if essential.

  • Phone: 9071 7594

The Pound is open by appointment only.

  • Phone: 9083 1533

Regular waste and recycling collections will continue.

 
Shire services and facilities that are closed:

  • Bay of Isles Leisure Centre (pool, gym, sauna and spa). 
    Membership contracts and payments will be suspended until further notice.
    Upfront memberships and visit pass expiry dates will be extended to cover the period of the closure.
  • Esperance Museum
  • Esperance Civic Centre
  • The Shire Depot on Brazier Street - closed to the public
  • All Shire of Esperance playgrounds and the Skate Park are CLOSED as of 5pm, Monday 30 March 2020.
  • All bush and beach camping locations - as of 5pm, Monday 30 March 2020, all Shire campsites are CLOSED until further notice.
    These campsites are NOT OPEN and WILL NOT BE OPEN for the holidays.

 

The Department of Justice WA has suspended all Justice of the Peace (JP) services from the Shire of Esperance Administration Building and other facilities. The State Government has taken this step in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decision has been made outside of the Shire’s jurisdiction.

Can the Shire close the town borders?

No. The Shire does not have the authority to close the town borders. However, we are working closely with the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder to ask our communities to not travel and stay at home for the holidays.

The Southern Highway and Coolgardie-Esperance Highway are the jurisdiction of Main Roads Western Australia. Authority to close these roads would be from the directive of the State Government.

The government has placed restrictions on travel throughout the country and we encourage everyone to keep up to date through the Western Australia Government website.

Can the Shire turn away travellers?

We are hearing your concerns with regards to the displaced travellers who do not appear, either to be abiding by the direction of the Government or cannot because they have no place to go. As a result they are camping in carparks along the coastline or in bush camps.

Shire staff have been working on locating and communicating with these people. These travellers have been provided advice to contact their home consulate for assistance with repatriation, or finances if required, updated Covid-19 information, hygiene requirements and travel restriction advice.

As a Shire, we do not have any powers or authority to relocate or move them on. State and other Government agencies are aware of this issue and we will continue to work with them to find the best solution for all.

We are hearing your concerns and are working on a solution.

Council has written to the Premier to have our main roads closed and our MLC State representative, is requesting additional resources from the State Government to handle the increased number of displaced travellers.

We will keep you informed of any responses or changes to this situation.

Information for Travellers

The Shire of Esperance is advising people do not travel to the Esperance region. As a regional community we have limited medical services and a constrained supply to supermarkets which will not be able to sustain an influx of visitors to our area during this time. 

Please view the Travel and Transport  Advice from the WA Government 

International travellers who wish to return home, or require financial support, are being advised to contact their consulate immediately to assist with repatriation or financial difficulties.

FRENCH CONSULATE WA
Consulate Agency
4 / 105 Broadway, Nedlands WA 6009
PH : 0404 431 900

CONSULATE OF ITALY WA
Level 2 / 1292 Hay St, West Perth WA 6005
PH : 9322 4500

GERMAN CONSULATE WA
1133 Hay St, West Perth WA 6005
PH : 9321 2926

EMBASSY OF ARGENTINA
Ph: 02 6273 9111

BRITISH CONSULATE
Level 2 / 251 Adelaide Tce, Perth WA 6000
Ph: 9224 4700

CANADIAN CONSULATE
Level 2 / 267 St Georges Tce, Perth WA 6000
Ph: 9322 7930

US CONSULATE
Level 4 / 16 St Georges Tce, Perth WA 6000
Ph: 6144 5100

CONSULATE OF SWITZERLAND
99 Thomas St, Subiaco WA 6008
Ph: 0407 452 666

CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
Level 9 / 68 St Georges Tce, Perth WA 6000
Ph: 9321 6044

Travellers sleeping in their vehicles and using public toilet facilities to wash and do laundry, are being urged to secure accommodation for the next three to four months if they have the financial means, and are intending to stay in the Shire.

Travellers without financial means of supporting themselves in Australia should contact their Embassy or Consulate to seek assistance to return home while it is still possible.

Travellers sleeping in their vehicles who are not working in the area are being asked to go to Perth immediately where more health resources, crisis and budget accommodation is available.

WA State Inter-Regional Travel Restrictions

Non-essential travel between WA regions is now restricted. This is to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

If you are currently outside of your region, you should return home immediately.

Western Australian intrastate travel is defined as movement through the boundaries of the regions of Western Australia.

These regions are:

  • Perth and Peel (due to their proximity, the Perth and Peel regions will form one region)
  • South West
  • Great Southern
  • Goldfields-Esperance
  • Mid-West
  • Wheatbelt
  • Gascoyne
  • Pilbara
  • Kimberley.

Exemptions will apply for:

  • people travelling to work
  • attending medical appointments
  • transporting freight
  • those who do not have access to groceries or supplies within their region
  • returning to a place of residence
  • attending school or an educational institution where necessary
  • catering for family members
  • compassionate grounds

 

Check points and mobile police patrols will be in place to monitor travel across boundaries and ensure people are doing the right thing.

People are encouraged, where possible, to assist police by preparing documentation, such as a letter/email/SMS from an employer, to support their legitimate travel. 

Police have the power to enforce these restrictions, and issue fines of up to $50,000.

For up to date information on travel and transport in WA, please visit the WA Government website.

WA State Border Closure

The WA Government has announced the temporary closure of the Western Australian border. From 11.59pm, on Sunday, April 5, people will no longer be able to enter Western Australia without an exemption. This is a temporary closure to limit the spread of the virus in WA.

Western Australians who are currently out of the state and wish to return should do so immediately.

Exemptions are currently being finalised, and will include people who perform work functions, like:

  • health services
  • emergency service workers
  • transport, freight and logistics
  • specialist skills, not available in WA
  • national or State security and governance
  • courts and judicial services.

There will also be exemptions for FIFO workers and their families, however strict 14-day self-isolation measures will need to be followed when they first enter the State.

Further exemptions will also be permitted based on specific compassionate grounds. Additional information will be released soon.

People arriving from interstate before 11.59pm on Sunday, 5 April 2020 will be ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

For up to date information on WA State border closures, please visit the WA Government website.

Are bush and beach camp areas open?

No. All camping grounds within the Shire of Esperance are closed from 5pm Monday 30 March 2020 until further noticed. These include Alexander Bay, Munglinup Beach, Quagi Beach, Israelite Bay, Kennedy’s Beach and Membinup Beach.

Beach Camping is not allowed.

All campers will be required to find alternate accommodation.

If you are visiting the region on holidays, please return to your home now. If you are travelling from overseas, please contact your country Consulate now for advice and assistance.

These campsites are NOT OPEN and WILL NOT BE OPEN for the holidays.

Can I go camping?

The WA Government's strong guidance to all Western Australians is to stay home unless for:

  • shopping for what you need - food, takeaway, and necessary supplies
  • medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

If camping is your primary business or job, then this is classified as Essential and you are able to continue.

Keep up to date with the latest from the WA Government here.

Can I go fishing

The WA Government's strong guidance to all Western Australians is to stay home unless for:

  • shopping for what you need - food, takeaway, and necessary supplies
  • medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements
  • exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  • work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

If fishing is your primary business or job, then this is classified as Essential and you are able to continue.

Keep up to date with the latest from the WA Government here.

Social Distancing

Our community is being asked to keep a minimum of 1.5 metres away from others. COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person to person when we come into close contact with one another.

We can all help stop the spread by keeping our distance. This means do not shake hands, or exchange physical greetings, and wherever possible, stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.

Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

So, the more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Together we can help stop the spread and stay healthy. Visit the Department of Health to learn more.

What support is available for the local community?

The Shire has redeployed the ‘What’s On Calendar’ as a new community resource for local information for our community. We are starting with how to access local retailers and community services during this time. Please be patient as we develop this resource, more categories and local information will be added in due course. View the information here.

The Shire recognises that this is a challenging time for all of us. It is completely normal to experience a range of emotions in these situations. Having someone to listen to and support you through this time is important. The following free services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
  • Beyondblue – 1300 22 4636
Assistance with paying your rates

Property owners having difficulty paying their rates are encouraged to contact the Shire on 08 9071 0657 to discuss options.

What support is available to the Business Community?

The Australian Federal Government and Western Australian Government have announced measures to support small business during this challenging time.

For details on these measures please visit the Small Business Development Corporation website.

Food Businesses

A priority of the Shire of Esperance is to ensure that safe food is sold from local businesses. The Environmental Health Officers monitors all food business and has visited businesses recently offering suggestions to create a safer workplace in this current environment. A new Food Safety Tips for Take Away and Food Delivery information flyer has been developed to help during this time.

Accommodation providers

We will have visitors to the region who will need to self-isolate in accordance with government protocols. These people will need support and care. Should your business be in the situation of accommodating these guests, the WA Department of Health has issued an advisory flyer to assist in managing the matter.

What can I do to support my community?

At this time we are strongly recommending people to reconsider all non-essential travel. If you don’t need to be out and about, please stay at home. If you are away from home please adhere to the social distancing rules.

It’s important we all continue to look out for each other. Check in on others and reach out to those most at risk: neighbours living alone, the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Confirm their telephone number so you can contact them during periods of isolation. They may also need your help to replenish essential items and fill prescriptions for essential medicines.

Are Council Meetings still proceeding?

Council and Committee Meetings will continue to operate unless advice is received from the government. Only essential officers will attend and there is very limited public access. Social distancing will be practiced by Councillors and staff (1.5 metre space).

We encourage the public to not attend council meetings until further notice, however, if you have a question for Council we ask that you send us an email.

We are currently investigating the best way to make Council meetings available to the public and will advise when a suitable process is available.

What events have been suspended or cancelled?

Restrictions are now in place on all social gatherings which includes events. A number of events have been cancelled or postponed. We recommend that you contact the independent organiser for more information relating specifically to their event. The Shire will continue to monitor events and gatherings and make changes based on current advice.

Anzac Day events have been cancelled.

Social distancing has been implemented for Citizenship Ceremonies.

Will my bins be collected as usual?

Yes, there is currently no disruptions to waste collection services.

Can I drop supplies to loved ones?

Yes, this is essential travel.

Should I see a doctor for a non-coronavirus issue or put it off?

If you are unwell, please call your doctor. Each clinic will have protocols in place and can advise you.

I've been invited for a drink at a mate's house - should I go?

No. It's non-essential and therefore shouldn't happen.

Does the Shire know / keep track of people who are in quarantine?

No. The Shire does not keep track of people in quarantine. This is the responsibility of the Australian and Western Australian Governments.

Can I go for a run?

Yes, but ensure you keep at least 1.5m away from other people

Stay Informed - COVID-19 information

The best place to stay informed on COVID-19, including updates, alerts and resources, is to visit the Department of Health website and the Healthy WA Website.

If you are concerned about COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice. This line operates 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.

How do I contact the Shire of Esperance?

You can contact the Shire Administration via: