Frequently Asked Questions- COVID 19

Council locations & services

What Council locations and services have been affected by Covid-19?

Following the advice of the Australian Government and NSW Health, the following facilities have been closed:

  • Customer Service Centre
  • Waverley Library
  • Waverley Council Chambers
  • Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre
  • Mill Hill Community Centre
  • All Waverley Council community halls
  • Bondi Pavilion
  • All beaches including Bondi, Tamarama, Mackenzie’s Bay and Bronte
  • Bronte Pool
  • Council’s BBQs in public places are not available for use
  • Outdoor fitness stations
  • Playgrounds
  • Waverley Synthetic Sports field, Waverley Oval and Multipurpose courts at Waverley Park

Although, the Customer Service Centre at Spring Street is now closed, you can still get in touch with us by:

Staff at Waverley Council's Mill Hill Community & Seniors Centre are also available via phone and email. Please get in touch by:

  • Calling 9083 8999
  • Emailing adminmillhill@waverley.nsw.gov.au

Early Childhood Education Centres and our Family Day Care services currently remain open and are closely following health advice.

Cancellation of events & programs

Which Council events and programs have been cancelled?

Council’s JP Service has been suspended until further notice. The Toy Library has also been closed until further notice.

All events in Council facilities are cancelled until early May at this stage. This includes:

  • Charing Cross Festival
  • Jazz @ the Pav
  • Bondi Blitz
  • Mermaid Festival
  • Summer Daze (5 April, 2 May)
  • Business Forum
  • ANZAC Sunday on 19 April
  • Global Table

Non-essential Council-run events and programs have been cancelled or postponed until further notice, including:

  • Autumn School Holiday program
  • All Library events and programs
  • Seniors Centre programs and events
  • Smaller-scale community events

Closure of public space

  1. Why have you closed the beaches?
  2. How long will the beaches stay closed?
  3. Why didn’t Council close the beach sooner?
  4. Will people be fined if they go onto the beach?
  5. How will people be prevented from going onto the beach?
  6. Why has Council closed the outdoor fitness stations?
  7. Why has Council closed playgrounds?
  8. Will Council be closing parks and other public areas?

Why have you closed the beaches?

The closure of Waverley’s three beaches (Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte), as well as Mackenzie’s Bay, is a response to the announcement by NSW Police Minister David Elliot at 2pm 21 March 2020 that beaches across the state can have a maximum of 500 people on the beach at any one time. The community is being asked to act responsibly and to comply with the restrictions so that the spread of the Covid-19 can be slowed.


How long will the beaches stay closed?

Our beaches are closed until further notice.


Why didn’t Council close the beach sooner?

The State Government announced on 21 March 2020 that beaches across the state can have a maximum of 500 people on the beach at any one time. Prior to this Council sought input from different government agencies for a coordinated approach to shifting people from the beach.

On 21 March Council engaged with NSW Police to determine the correct course of action and the Government’s announcement provided clarity and enabled us to act.


Will people be fined if they go onto the beach?

The community is being asked to act responsibly and to comply with the restrictions so that the spread of the virus can be slowed. Lifeguards will ask people to leave the beach. Any abuse of staff or tampering with Council property, including fencing, will not be tolerated.


How will people be prevented from going onto the beach?

The community must take personal responsibility and act responsibly to comply with the restrictions imposed by the NSW Government.

Council has also taken the following measures to prevent beach access:

  • Closed all ramp and stair access to Bondi Beach with a mixture of fencing and barricades
  • Installed fencing at Tamarama Beach
  • Installed fencing at Bronte Beach
  • Installed fencing at Mackenzie’s Bay
  • Increased signage across all our beaches, including electronic signage
  • Locked Bronte Pool
  • Increased Council Ranger patrols
  • Is installing fencing at Ben Buckler Point, North Bondi, to restrict access to stairs leading to the boat ramp and rocks at North Bondi
  • Council's free Bondi Beach wi-fi login takes users immediately to NSW Health's website
  • Failure to comply with the ‘Beach Closed’ signs can attract fines.

Why has Council closed the outdoor fitness stations?

Following advice from the Australian Government and NSW Health, Waverley Council outdoor fitness stations will be closed until further notice. Advice from NSW Health indicates ‘the virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment)’, therefore outdoor fitness stations shared by multiple users are deemed unsafe.


Why has Council closed playgrounds?

Council do not have the capacity to clean our playgrounds to the level required to ensure the virus was not on surfaces, and social distancing is difficult for children to maintain.

Following Council’s decision, the Australian Government closed all playgrounds across the country on Monday 30 March.


Will Council be closing parks and other public areas?

The community can help keep our public spaces open by complying with social distancing. Our Rangers are moving through our parks encouraging visitors to observe social distancing.

Backpackers, Airbnbs & other crowded venue

  1. Will Council be closing backpacker accommodation facilities?
  2. How will Council be enforcing social distancing in Waverley e.g. at backpackers, on construction sites, in parks?

Will Council be closing backpacker accommodation facilities?

Council must follow the advice from the Australian and NSW Governments’ when making decisions. Backpacker accommodation facilities have received extensive advice from NSW Health to help contain the spread of Covid-19. Managers of backpacker establishments have been advised to undertake the following to minimise transmission of the disease:

  • Install NSW Health posters in the communal areas for effective communication.
  • Provide plenty of hand sanitiser dispensers within the premises and check them regularly to ensure they are full.
  • Assist people to self-isolate if they are recent arrivals from overseas.
  • Direct any backpackers with symptoms and recent overseas travel to the free hospital clinics for testing.
  • Thorough and regular cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces.

Our staff are carrying out on-site inspections to check the operators of backpacker accommodation facilitiies are complying with all of their planning approvals. Staff are assisting with providing facts sheets from NSW Health. More information here.


How will Council be enforcing social distancing in Waverley e.g. at backpackers, on construction sites, in parks?

Council Rangers and NSW Police will continue to monitor social distancing in our public places.

As it stands right now, we are restricted in what our Rangers, and Health and Building Compliance staff can do. However, NSW Police not only have the powers to issue on the spot fines but can also prosecute individuals and corporations for breaching the directions outlined in the Public Health Orders. The penalty for individuals is a fine of up to $11,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months or both. The maximum penalty for a corporation is a fine of up to $55,000. Further penalties apply if the offence continues.

We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We all need to behave in a safe and responsible manner so that the spread of this virus can be slowed. No-one is immune to COVID-19 and behaving irresponsibly puts the entire community at risk.

Construction

Why is Council allowing construction work to continue?

At this time, there is no directive to cease outdoor construction work. Construction teams must implement social distancing wherever possible and promote good hygiene practices on sites as work continues. For more information on guidelines for essential work. If government directives on this change, Council will respond accordingly.

All Waverley Council contractors are working on business continuity plans and pandemic management plans. With so many businesses and individuals now experiencing financial stress, keeping construction sites open and jobs available is a priority for Council.

Council acknowledges that works are continuing at a time when more residents are at home for greater periods than is normally the case. We ask residents to be understanding of Council’s commitment to delivering projects as planned to allow employment to continue for our many contractors and to continue to deliver community assets.

Parking fines

Will Council stop issuing parking infringements?

Waverley Council has instructed Parking Officers to use their discretion and compassion when enforcing parking measures. We ask that motorists continue to adhere to Council’s existing parking restrictions for the safety of all motorists and pedestrians, and to ensure fair access to available parking.

Motorists who wish to have an infringement reviewed should refer their enquiry to Revenue NSW at revenue.nsw.gov.au or 1300 138 118.

Business Support

  1. I operate a business in the Waverley area, what assistance is available to me?
  2. What is Waverley Council’s business relief package?
  3. How long will the measures in the relief package be in place for?
  4. Is Council still undertaking health, hygiene, licensing and fire safety inspections as usual?
  5. I own/operate a restaurant. Can I trade as a takeaway business?
  6. I own/operate a small business in Waverley that has an approved mobile vendor license. Am I eligible for support?
  7. I am an existing supplier of products and/or services to Waverley Council. Will I still be paid?
  8. I own/operate a food business in Waverley with approved outdoor dining area. Will I be charged ongoing fees?
  9. I own/operate a small business and my landlord is Waverley Council. Is there any rental support available to me?
  10. I own/operate a small business and currently contract Waverley Council for commercial waste services. Is there any support available in relation to this service?
  11. I am struggling to pay my utility bills. What can I do?
  12. Is there somewhere I can receive additional advice for local businesses?
  13. Is any further support going to be available, in addition to the measures outlined in Waverley Council’s business relief package?

I operate a business in the Waverley area, what assistance is available to me?

There are a number of support packages and financial incentives available to you from federal, state and local government.

  • For information on federal government support, see here.
  • For information on state government support, see here.
  • For information on Waverley Council support, including the recently announced $1 million per month relief package for small businesses, see here.

There are also two emergency business hotlines available if you require urgent assistance:

  • Australian Government Business Hotline: 13 28 46
  • Australian Taxation Office Emergency Hotline: 1800 806 218

What is Waverley Council’s business relief package?

On 25 March 2020, Waverley Council announced a business relief package targeted at supporting small businesses in the local community. This package offers approximately $1 million per month in financial relief. The support measures in the package include:

  • Relaxed conditions of consent for restaurants to enable trade as takeaway-only services.
  • Footpath seating fees will be waived as these paths are no longer able to be used.
  • Health, hygiene, licensing and fire safety inspections fees will be waived to all small business in the local government area. Inspections will still be carried out.
  • Fee waivers will be applied to outdoor fitness permits and to community markets (such as Bondi Junction Mall, Carl Jeppesen Place and Roscoe St Mall).
  • On-street parking in commercial centres will focus on infringements where community safety access is a risk.
  • Mobile vendor licence fees will be waived.
  • Commercial waste fees and charges to be adjusted to level of service. Customers can also apply for extended credit terms during the pandemic period.
  • Commercial rent support for small businesses that operate out of Council-owned assets. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Council will pay its small business suppliers promptly within 15 days payment terms.
  • Extended credit on certain fees and charges small businesses owe to Council with a suspension of interest charges.
  • Financial hardship policy which will review and implement a process for considering applications for other forms of assistance, including deferred rate payments with no interest charge.
  • Relaxed operating hours for all supermarkets and grocers to ensure a continual supply and restock of products.
  • Continuation of Council’s current capital works program of over $50 million per annum through to June 2021 to support employment in the construction sector.
  • Council procurement from local suppliers if consistent with statutory procurement regulations and prescribed delegations.
  • “Buy Local” publicity campaign via Council communication channels and the Bondi & Districts Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the package, see here.

How long will the measures in the relief package be in place for?

Council’s COVID-19 business response team will monitor and review measures on an ongoing basis, with the intent that they remain in place until at least 30 June 2020 or until such time that the pandemic restrictions are lifted.


Is Council still undertaking health, hygiene, licensing and fire safety inspections as usual?

Yes. Council will still be undertaking these inspections to ensure health and safety standards are maintained. However, all fees associated with these inspections will be waived to small businesses.


I own/operate a restaurant. Can I trade as a takeaway business?

Yes. Council is relaxing conditions of consent for restaurants and other approved food businesses to enable trade as takeaway only services.


I own/operate a small business in Waverley that has an approved mobile vendor license. Am I eligible for support?

Yes. All fees for mobile vendors will be waived while pandemic restrictions are in place.


I am an existing supplier of products and/or services to Waverley Council. Will I still be paid?

Yes. Council will pay its small business suppliers promptly within 15 days payment terms.


I own/operate a food business in Waverley with approved outdoor dining area. Will I be charged ongoing fees?

No. All approved footpath seating fees will be waived while pandemic restrictions are in place.


I own/operate a small business and my landlord is Waverley Council. Is there any rental support available to me?

Yes. Rent support is available for small businesses that operate out of Council-owned assets. This support will be provided on a case-by-case basis. Please contact our business assistance team to discuss further: business@waverley.nsw.gov.au


I own/operate a small business and currently contract Waverley Council for commercial waste services. Is there any support available in relation to this service?

Yes. Customers can apply for extended credit terms during the pandemic period. To arrange this, please contact Waverley Council’s commercial waste team: dl_commercial_waste@waverley.nsw.gov.au


I am struggling to pay my utility bills. What can I do?

All major utility providers including electricity, water, gas and phone services are offering deferred payments for those experiencing financial hardship. Please contact your provider directly to apply for a deferral on payments.


Is there somewhere I can receive additional advice for local businesses?

Yes. Council is working closely with the Bondi & Districts Chamber of Commerce, who are also providing advice and support to local businesses. Please visit their website for more information or get in touch with them via email.


Is any further support going to be available, in addition to the measures outlined in Waverley Council’s business relief package?

The current package provides immediate short-term support to local businesses. The measures within the package will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Waverley Council has also established a working group with the Bondi & Districts chamber of Commerce to plan for medium and long-term relief measures once pandemic restricts have eased or ended.

Community

  1. Will Council still run community engagement?
  2. How are you ensuring our vulnerable are safe during this pandemic?

Will Council still run community engagement?

At this time, yes. To ensure we continue to deliver Council’s capital works and other community projects, engagements will proceed.

We are looking at different ways to reach and involve the community in Council projects. Some of these include online forums, hard copy survey submissions, and extending the length of each engagement. Every project’s consultation will be different but our promise to you is to ‘use as many channels as we can to engage our community through the evolving COVID-19 pandemic’ but we will update you via the Council website, Council’s engagement platform and through our e-newsletters Waverley Weekly and Engagement news (via HYS site).


How are you ensuring our vulnerable are safe during this pandemic?

We’re continuing our support for the most vulnerable people in our community – those who are socially isolated, elderly or at risk of homelessness.

  • Through our Community Housing Manager, we are liaising with our social and affordable housing tenants to ensure they are supported.
  • While Waverley Library remains closed, we are still able to offer our online resources to our members. Our Home Library Service also continues as normal, and all housebound patrons will continue to receive deliveries from us
  • Public WiFi will continue to be available throughout Waverley
  • Homeless residents through Coordination of support within established internal and external networks: Regular monitoring, referral and cleaning routines will be maintained.  Weekly Outreach services providing ongoing support for individuals will continues. Council is working with the Eastern Suburbs Homelessness Assertive Collaboration (ESHAC) on key issues.
  • Early Education Services and our Family Day Care services remain open at the current time and are closely following health advice.
  • Mill Hill Seniors & Community Services is closed, and seniors programming is suspended. During this time Council is supporting our seniors through alternative means that will replace face to face contact to ensure our seniors keep well and are connected to information and support.
  • Council continues to support local essential services providers, grassroots initiatives and community groups such as the Waverley Community and Seniors Association, Our Big Kitchen and others, in helping vulnerable people and assist to contain the spread of COVID 19.
  • The Junction Neighbourhood Centre (JNC) is providing up to date information on local services that are still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic including details of any changed arrangements to access them. These services are changing daily and the directory will be updated regularly
  • Waverley Community Living Program (WCLP) continues to provide support to people with a disability, including providing essential one-to-one services as well as virtual services where appropriate. To find out more click here.

Council is disseminating Australian & NSW Government information on social distancing and personal hygiene to all members of our community. Please find more information on this here: health.nsw.gov.au/coronavirus. This remains the best point for health advice.

Covid-19 Testing Clinic

  1. Where is the pop up COVIC-19 testing clinic?
  2. What is the criteria for testing?

Where is the pop up COVIC-19 testing clinic?

A drive through community COVID-19 screening clinic is located in Park Drive North, Bondi Beach car park.

The St Vincent’s Hospital-run clinic will be open from 9am to 4pm seven days a week for those who meet the testing criteria.


What is the criteria for testing?

Residents are advised to consult their GP, NSW Health website, healthdirect or call 1800 020 080 (National Coronavirus Helpline) for further details on COVID-19 clinics and testing criteria.