Life has changed rapidly in the past week: just ten days ago, the Grand Prix was still going ahead. Now schools are set to close and the State of Victoria is shutting down many services.
The Prime Minister has announced nation-wide closures of places of social gathering to abate the health crisis.
This is welcome news for those worried that our response to COVID-19 has not adequately contained the exponential spread of infection. But it also creates new uncertainty and anxiety, particularly for older and vulnerable people.
Over the next few weeks, I will use the MV Blog to try to share useful information about what is open, where people can find help, and also positive stories to keep our spirits lifted during this life-altering Corona War.
Positive story one: on learning school will operate online from Tuesday, where classes will be conducted via video following the daily timetable, my daughter, who is currently completing Year 12 (what a year for it!) said, ‘Well, we’ll probably be allowed to eat in class now’.
UPDATE: At 8am this morning, Monday 23 March, the Premier of Victoria announced the closures below will be in force until April 13.
The Premier changed his message and reinforced the Prime Minister’s announcement of major closures as part of Stage 1, with the additional closure of schools in Victoria.
THE MAIN MESSAGE is that
WE NEED TO PHYSICALLY DISTANCE NOW to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Work from home if you can
- Do not go to friends’ houses
- KEEP a PHYSICAL DISTANCE
Clarity is still being sought about whether businesses can stay open; the suggestion is that businesses need to close to the public, but can operate without the public entering a premises.
Victorian schools: Government schools will close on Tuesday 24 March in Victoria so teachers can prepare online learning. Some independent schools have announced online learning from Tuesday until the end of Term One; some have already commenced online learning prior to this week.
School holidays: The Premier says to stay home. Do not venture out. If we don’t stop doing these things: “We will be talking about quite amazing tragedy”.
The Prime Minister announced that the following will be closed from 12pm Monday nation-wide:
- The borders to South Australia and Western Australia are restricted
- Licensed Clubs
- Places of worship
- Entertainment venues
- Gyms and indoor sporting venues
- Cafes and restaurants will be restricted to takeaway only
The AFL is currently suspended until at least May and AFLW has ended the season early. The NRL, extraordinarily, continues.
The Victorian Premier’s announcement listed the following:
- Petrol stations
- Convenience stores
- Freight and delivery services
- There are no immediate changes to Victorian public transport timetables
- TAFES and Unis
- Bottle shops
From Moonee Valley Council:
Council will be making announcements Monday about what will remain operating, including the situation for kindergartens, child-care, aged care and disability services (expected to continue), Council meetings, continuing phone and internet services at Civic Centre, immunisations, domestic care, maternal and child health, and other council services.
It is expected that Council will continue to provide services for the community as much as possible while keeping health a priority.
From the 16 March, Council announced the following venues had closed:
- 5 Moonee Valley Libraries (Ascot Vale, Flemington, Niddrie, Sam Merrifield, Avondale Heights)
- Clocktower Centre
- Incinerator Gallery
- Flemington Community Centre
- Niddrie Youth Hub space
- Riverside Driving Range
- Essendon Traffic School
- Moonee Valley Athletics Centre (school bookings only)
- Civic Centre Customer Service Counter
- The Depot reception area has been closed – the Transfer Station remains open at this stage with extra safety measures in place
- Neighbourhood Fitness Hubs – Avondale Heights Library exercise room
- Queens Park Pool
Further announcements are likely to be made on Ascot vale Leisure Centre and other sporting facilities.
Where to find help:
Victorians self-isolating due to coronavirus (COVID-19) with no access to food and essential supplies will receive emergency relief packages under a program introduced by the Victorian Government.
It will start from Monday 23 March and can be accessed by calling Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline can also refer people to other support services if needed.
There are some excellent groups that have sprung up on Facebook:
Adopt a Healthcare Worker Victoria – to support Healthcare workers needing anything from dog walking to rooms in which to isolate from family
More to come