Saturday, March 28, 2020

Public toilets and some Mid Murray campgrounds are the latest facilities to be affected by closures in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As part of Council’s ongoing response to reduce the public health risk to our community, and on advice from the State and Federal Governments, several public toilets across the district will temporarily be closed. Toilets to be closed from Friday, 27 March include: • New Blanchetown Oval toilet, Sunset Boulevard, Blanchetown • Wongulla Landing toilet block, Wongulla Ramp Road • Younghusband Boat Ramp Reserve male and female toilets • Mannum Showgrounds toilet block, North Terrace, Mannum • Truro Recreation Ground toilet block, Oval Road, Truro More toilet closures will follow in coming weeks for several reasons including reduced demand due to fewer visitor numbers, increased challenges in Council sourcing the necessary hygiene and cleaning supplies, and increased incidents of vandalism and theft from public toilets. The closure of these toilets will allow Council staff to focus on keeping the remaining amenities open, while providing a high standard of cleanliness. Signage will be placed on all affected facilities directing visitors to the closest open amenities. Campgrounds at Bolto Reserve and Haythorpe Reserve have also been closed to the public today (Thursday) under a decision made by the operators who manage those sites. Council has not made the decision to close any of its other public campgrounds at this stage, however, it is likely that toilet facilities at several of Council’s popular camping sites will be required to close in coming weeks. Council is also considering the latest advice received from the State and Federal Governments, and SA Health, and is making decisions about the future operation of its facilities on a daily basis. Mid Murray Council Chief Executive Officer Ben Scales urged people to reconsider any non-essential travel plans for the coming weeks, especially if they are planning to travel over the Easter long weekend and school holiday break. “If you have made arrangements for non-essential travel into our region and plan to stay locally, we encourage you to check in with your accommodation provider to see if there are any changes to your planned arrangements,” he said. “People also need to consider that there will be limited facilities available, with local closures to cafes, pubs, restaurants, visitor information centres and tourist attractions. While some of Council’s public amenities are currently still accessible at some popular campgrounds, we expect these will be closed before the Easter weekend, so there will most likely be no access to toilet facilities at these sites. “We know our region is a popular getaway over Easter and the school holidays, but the high level of risk to public health of the spread of COVID-19 with non-essential travel is a serious concern for our district. “SA Police will be patrolling popular camping areas to ensure people are complying with the Federal Government’s restrictions on public gatherings and safe distances, and Council staff will be enforcing penalties for any breaches.” Fines of up too $20,000 can apply where individuals breach the safe-distance requirements. For more information on the Government’s restrictions visit the SA Health website. Council’s COVID-19 senior management team continues to meet daily and will keep the community updated about any changes via Council’s website, Facebook page and through local media.