The Department of Health and Human Services has reconsidered restrictions placed on councils in regional Victoria and will be allowing customer service centres to open before the official end of Stage Three restrictions. At this stage, restrictions are set to end on Sunday 13 September at 11.59 pm.
This means Northern Grampians Shire Council will reopen customer service offices at Stawell Town Hall and St Arnaud on 31 August with density limitations in place.
The Stawell Town Hall office will be open from 8.30am to 4.45pm, Monday to Friday with a limit of five small groups and patrons will be required to stand on the marked areas of the floor.
The St Arnaud Office will be open 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday with a limit of six people in total allowed in the reception area at any time.
Physical distancing protocols of 1.5 metres distance between people will be expected and enforced within the customer service areas and hand sanitiser will be provided at both the entry and exit of customer service centres.
Clear plastic screens will remain in place at the customer service desks to ensure the safety of staff and the community.
During lockdown, council staff employed through the state-funded Working for Victoria initiative have been giving the customer service areas a makeover including fresh paint and new carpet.
Repainting of the Stawell Town Hall foyer commenced on 24 August and all renovations are expected to be complete in time for the reopening of the customer service centres.
Northern Grampians Shire Council CEO, Liana Thompson, said this change to Stage Three restrictions would be a welcome dispensation for the shire community.
“For many of our shire residents, particularly the elderly or those for whom technology including the telephone is challenging, face to face contact is the easiest way to manage their queries,” she said.
“To date we have been very pleased with how the region has been abiding by the restrictions and keeping our community safe. We anticipate that residents will really appreciate being able to have first hand contact with our customer service staff again in our newly renovated surrounds.”
“We encourage everyone where possible to call the In It Together hotline on 03 5358 8700 as it might save them a trip to see our centres and also help us keep the numbers down to a manageable and safe level in our shire buildings.”