LOCAL RESOURCES & CONTACTS // A Guide For Dealing With The Coronavirus Crisis In The Highlands
It's become bigger than your fear of running out of loo roll! It's real. It's happening and we need to understand what this means for us living in the Southern Highlands.
We're all about making the most out of living in this beautiful part of the world. We encourage locals to get out and about around the towns of the Highlands, experiencing all the goodness that we have on offer. So, it's a big blow to learn about events being cancelled both here in the Highlands, in Australia and around the world, about whole countries being in lock-down.
And with the uncertainty that hovers over our way of life and of course, the health of our community, it’s difficult not to become anxious and overwhelmed.
Our advice? Knowledge is key. Arm yourself with aaallllll the knowledge you can to help you make informed decisions about how you are going to respond to this pandemic.
Information current as at 18 March 2020
CREDIBLE INFORMATION SOURCES:
There is a lot of information available on the world wide web about the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Always ensure you are obtaining your information from credible sources. These are the three we have bookmarked:
And here's a list of local medical centres if you need to touch base with a health professional.
WHAT’S ON AND WHAT’S NOT:
The government has banned events of over 500 people and indoor events of 100 people or more. This means that a lot of the wonderful events that happen locally have been impacted. Many have been postponed – let’s make sure we all turn up with our bells on when new dates are announced once this crisis passes! – and many have been cancelled.
Keep an eye on our Event Directory. Every day our team is calling event organisers and checking to update the information in the directory. It’s a good place to start, but always double check directly with the event organisers as decisions are being made and adjusted hourly in some cases!
Many local sporting associations have made the decision to postpone the start of the winter season of TEAM sports. Follow these guys on Facebook for updates:
And there is still plenty of other ways we can practise social distancing and stay active (with some extra awareness around handwashing, sanitising and not touching!).
TENNIS // Stay on the baseline and you’re 24 metres away from each other!
BUSHWALKS // The perfect activity to stop you from going stir crazy. Try some of our favourite local walks.
BIKE RIDES // Nothing like the wind on your face and getting saddle sore to make you feel alive. Give this road route a whirl, or head to Bong Bong Common for a ride with the kids, or go bush at Welby. At the moment, Cycling NSW and the Southern Highlands Cycling Club aren’t running sanctioned events but the good news is the Welby Trail Network is open for individual riders to blow out the cobwebs.
GARDENING // Apparently our local garden centres and nurseries are selling lots of fruit trees and veggie seeds. If you don’t have a veggie patch already, now would be the perfect time to start one. Gardening gets you outdoors in the fresh air, works those muscles, and then provides you with beauty AND food! Winning! Have a read of our Guide To Autumn Gardening in the Highlands - this will come in handy!
WINGECARRIBEE SHIRE COUNCIL WEBSITE:
One of the best pages to head to for up-to-date info on the council’s website is actually the Media Page. This is where you’ll find the latest news in regards to venues that are open and council sanctioned events that have been postponed or cancelled.
Here is an update from the council published on Monday 23 March:
- Water and Wastewater services - Currently unaffected
- Domestic rubbish - Currently unaffected
- Library services - Both Mittagong and Bowral Libraries closed to the public as of Tuesday 24 March. This includes the Home Library Service and ROADS mobile library. Sign up to their online library – such a great idea! Download books and magazines and read them on your device. No touching required!
- Council Pools - Mittagong, Bowral and Bundanoon Swimming Pools closed for the swim season.
- Moss Vale War Memorial Aquatic Centre - Pool and gym closed until further notice as per the Federal Government directive.
- Southern Regional Livestock Exchange (SRLX) - Facility and weekly auction limited to persons directly involved with purchase and sale of cattle.
- Bushcare and Rivercare - All programs and events temporarily suspended.
- Children’s Services - Before and After School Care at Mittagong Public School will continue until further notice. Vacation Care will be closed until further notice. Family Day Care will continue until further notice or as individual Educators decide to temporarily discontinue their individual family day care operations.
- Resource Recovery Centre - Services will continue as per normal until further notice.
- Moss Vale Civic Centre - The Civic Centre is currently open between 8.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. However where possible, face-to-face business of Council should be minimised and limited to essential business only. We’re taking extra measures to ensure the safety of staff and members of the public by minimising non-essential face-to-face contact. Additional safe hygiene practices including hand-sanitisers have been installed. Our online Customer Service Centre is available 24/7 at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au.
- Wingecarribee Animal Shelter - Services will continue as per normal until further notice.
- Community facilities - All Council halls and Community Centres are closed to all activities until further notice.
- Sporting facilities - All sports clubhouses such as club rooms, canteens and change rooms are closed to all activities until further notice.
- Council events and activities - All public Council events up until 31 July 2020 have been called off.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES:
Many Highlands businesses are already feeling the pinch from the impact of the hectic summer we had, so let’s help them stay strong (and open!).
We had a chat with the team at the Southern Highlands Food & Wine Assocication – read their suggestions for supporting our local food and bevvie industry in these times of social distancing. Now is the time to go to your local butcher & corner store...
We are updating this list of cafes and restaurants offering take away, home delivery, call and pay, and click and collect options daily. Check out The Argyle Hotel’s Click and Collect service or sign up to Hungrels which is a local app that allows you to order from local foodie haunts. Birch has also just created a pretty spesh takeaway menu so you can have date night or celebrate a special occasion with some awesome food at home.
Many retailers are still open for business with the adoption of additional hygiene and cleaning practices. And of course, there are some awesome stores that offer online ordering too – like Mrs Oldbuck’s Pantry’s range online or the gorgeous Highlands Jewellery online store (we could use some pick-me-up jewellery!). Such a great way to support local right now!
We also love Tractorless Vineyard’s idea of a virtual guided wine tasting! Brilliant!
LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF:
Okay, let’s be real people……this is quite stressful at the moment, right? Many of us are pushing through trying to keep it all together in front of family, kids, friends, work colleagues but inside there might be a feeling of uneasiness that can manifest quickly into something more serious and sinister.
So look after yourself through regular exercise, eating healthy, taking time out to process and release all of the crazy of the world right now, and stepping away from the hectic news cycle if you feel it starting to pull you in and impact your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Here’s a list of local counsellors and therapists that can help you through this time. Many are set up with a remote service offering such as Skype or Zoom or FaceTime.
And we love this from Bundanoon’s Quest for Life – At Home With Quest: Online check-in to settle anxiety and unease. You can join it live or watch the videos afterwards. Fantastic idea!
So, let's all be as calm as we can and kind always! Look in on elderly neighbours, check in with your mates and look after yourself. We're all doing the best we can and we will get through this.