Local business impacts from outbreak of COVID-19

Ararat Rural City Council and the GAB Network are acutely aware that COVID-19 will have significant impacts on businesses that operate within our community, as well as those who use them.

Both organisations are committed to the local business community and the future economic development of the region.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said it was vitally important for everyone to rally together to tackle the challenges the business community is now facing.

Dr Harrison said Council and the GAB Network have been in daily contact in relation to the situation, taking advice from East Grampians Health Service as well.

“Council’s Economic Development Unit is building a page on its website with links and information from government authorities specifically aimed at the business community,” he said.

“Our local business operators will be feeling anxious and uncertain about what lies ahead, and this information will help them prepare better and get the answers they need to plan adequately for what might happen next.

“Council is encouraging everyone, as the GAB Network is, to support our local business operators, keep our dollars in the region and shop locally. This is one very important way we can all help support them at this uncertain time.”

GAB network president Maria Whitford said it is important that the GAB network and community support one another in any way they can over the coming weeks and months, whilst ensuring we look after our own health and wellbeing.

“The success of moving past this situation as soon as possible with minimal disruption to services and businesses relies on everyone supporting the measures government has advised, and if this includes closing of many customer service-based facilities, then so be it,” Ms Whitford said.

“Taking the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and those experts who are monitoring the global situation on an hourly basis, the Health Department and Government are able to formulate the best approach to minimising and eradicating the spread of this virus sooner rather than later, so GAB Network fully supports the current measures that the Ararat Rural City Council have put in place.”

Ms Whitford said that 2020 will be a particularly difficult year for businesses.

“Now more than ever, shopping locally and supporting our business operator has never been so important as it will be over the next few weeks to months, so please keep that front of mind when deciding where to spend your dollars.

“Our priority is the health and safety of all our members and our community. Please look after yourself, one another and follow the Chief Medical Officer’s advice regarding social distancing and stay home if you’re unwell.”

“As the situation progresses, the GAB team will ensure members are kept up to date, with relevant information through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gabiznetwork and through direct email.”

There are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 in the local community, however this should not lead to complacency and residents are reminded to take the government advice regarding personal hygiene and social distancing.

For details on COVID-19, updates on important news and actions individuals can take, please visit: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

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