Regional COVID-19 information links

Here are the primary web pages for local, state and federal government COVID-19 updates, along with local print newspapers, and free to air TV guides.

Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

New South Wales

Queensland

Local Press and Media

Travelbiz : COVID-19 update

So I was going to post this on my travelbiz social media channels, but it’s too long.

Most of this information is for travel, tourism and hospitality operators, but there’s  useful advice for everyone, regardless of their situation.

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Photo credit:  J Palmer.  Wollumbin / Mount Warning view

COVID-19 Update.

If you’re thinking that things seem to have gone quiet, here’s a graphic (or four) showing what’s happened to hotel/travel search volumes in the USA.

The Coronavirus Effect: Impact On U.S. Travel Market 

As you can imagine, advice and opinions are flowing thick and fast across the globe.

Here are some of my picks for sensible advice, and what you can do to be proactive.

Where you see “hotel” just insert “my property/tourism business name”.  While many are UScentric, the strategies are universal.

Crisis Management: Preparing Your Hotel for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Excellent bullet point presentation covering all the bases.

Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19:  (direct PDF download link)

World Health Organisation (WHO):

If you haven’t already, or aren’t sure where to start, this WHO pdf is an excellent bullet point step by step guide to getting procedures in place, and just as importantly, communicating these to your staff, guests, visitors, and the wider community.

Twelve Strategies For Managing Hotels In Time Of Crisis  Another bullet point article with overview of more management/admin steps to incorporate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources. Australia – Health: A collection of resources for the general public and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19).

This includes specific information and info sheets for the travel, transport and hotel industries, and for Hotel/accommodation guests.

And here’s a couple of links I posted back on March 10th.  They’re still informative.

Coronavirus: Train Your Front Desk & Reservations Team To Respond To Guest Comments & Questions. By Doug Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Training Network

“What should we say when guests mention coronavirus?”

Very short read, with common sense tips.

Coronavirus survival tips for hotels, By Sheryl Kimes, Professor Services Operations Management at Cornell University

“How should hotels respond to the current coronavirus situation? Occupancies are down, mass gatherings have been canceled and tourist arrivals have dropped. I decided to go back and look at some of my previous research to get some tips on how to deal with this. Back in 2010, I did a study on tactics for surviving an economic downturn. Over 900 respondents from around the world participated and provided some very insightful comments that are as true today as they were 10 years ago.”

(I especially like #3. Don’t cut your marketing budget! <grin>)

UNWTO TOURISM AND CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)

More of a background to guidelines and recommendations now, as global events are outstripping updates (like QANTA international flights grounded and domestic flights drastically reduced).

And finally, for all our friends in Old Blightey.  COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses UK

Local tourism or hospitality business

Are you a local tourism or hospitality business?  Have you enacted your COVID-19 plan?

Post your COVID-19 response web site url in the comments below with #holidayherethisyear and #openforbusiness hashtags, to do our bit for business.

Visit our Facebook group: Big Volcano Travelbiz for more travel and tourism industry scuttlebutt and stuff.

Facilities and Attractions closures

Monday 16 March, 2020

Tweed Shire Council cultural facilities to close from tomorrow

Council will close its cultural facilities effective from tomorrow in response to the Coronavirus emergency. This includes libraries, gallery and museum facilities.

The facilities will be closed for two weeks, with the closure reviewed on a week-by-week basis after that. All associated events and public programs during this period have been cancelled or postponed.

The closures affect:
• Richmond-Tweed Regional Library branches at Tweed Heads, Kingscliff and Murwillumbah
• Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre and Gallery DownTown in Murwillumbah
• Tweed Regional Museum at Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Uki.

Council’s Director Sustainable Communities and Environment Tracey Stinson said Council had a duty of care to its cultural facility patrons and the community.

“We made this decision because we have a relatively high proportion of our population over the age of 60 and many of these residents who are more likely to be vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus use our facilities as patrons and volunteers,” Ms Stinson said.

“There are 6000 visits to our library branches a week and 600 per day visit the Tweed Heads library alone.
“Add to that the 2500 people who visit the Tweed Regional Gallery weekly and you have a large group of people coming together – many of whom are in the vulnerable age bracket.

She stressed that no staff members at any of the affected facilities had been diagnosed with Coronavirus.

“Closing these facilities are a precautionary measure aimed at protecting staff and slowing the spread of the virus within the community,” she said.

Staff will continue to work at the facilities during the closures on behind-the scenes projects.

All library patrons are also advised that there will be a waiver on any library books due for return during the closedown period.

– ends –

Lismore City Council announcement:

Member Councils of Richmond Tweed Regional Library are taking a proactive approach in response to the unfolding situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and have made the decision to temporarily close all Richmond Tweed Regional Library branches from tomorrow as a preventative measure to support the health and wellbeing of staff, volunteers and the community.

Library branches in Lismore City, Ballina, Byron and Tweed Shires, including the Mobile Library, will be closed for two weeks, with the closure reviewed on a week-by-week basis after that.

Regional Library Manger Jo Carmody said that Member Councils made this decision as Council has a duty of care to its staff, library users and the community.

The libraries have almost 30,000 visits per week with some of the bigger branches seeing visitor numbers in excess of 600 people per day.

Jo stressed that no staff member at any of the libraries had been diagnosed with Coronavirus.

“Council has decided that with our high visitor numbers that closing all branches was a precautionary measure aimed at protecting staff, library users and slowing the spread of the virus within the community,” she said.

The eLibrary is open with access to books, magazines and audiobooks in downloadable digital formats from the RTRL website or Library App. Any renewals will now be for a six-week period rather than the normal three-week renewal period. Renewals can be made on the website, Library App or by phoning the library.

Staff will continue to work during the closures on behind the scenes projects and will be available via phone to answer any library questions, renew items or assist with access to the online eLibrary.

ends-

National Parks status update

NSW NPWS

The Mega bush fire season of 2019/2020 has been followed by the (inevitable) seasonal floods.

Most parks in the Northern Rivers are now open, although some campgrounds are closed for refurnbishments and upgrades, and some tracks are closed for fire and/or flood damage repairs.

Tweed Valley View

Tweed Valley view from Blackbutt lookout, Border Ranges NP

Cutters Camp campground in Mebbin NP is closed for construction works until May 2020.  In Border Ranges NP, Sheepstation Creek campground and some associated trails are closed for upgrades until May 2020.

Due to the theft of BBQ equipment/ hardware and gas bottles, there is no BBQ facilities provided at the Nightcap NP Terania Creek picnic area until further notice.

Historic Nightcap track remains closed from Rummery Park campground west through to Mount Nardi and the Sphinx.  Rummery Park campground and associated Minyon Falls picnic areas and tracks are open.

Other national parks camping areas and tracks may be closed due to bush fire or flood damage.  Visitors are advised to check current status before arrival.  Please see NSW NPWS Northern Rivers Campgrounds for most recent updates, or visit Current alerts in this area.

QLD Parks Service (QPWS)

All parks are now open, although some tracks may be closed due to bush fire damage or wet weather.

As a result of the wet recent weather, and in accordance with the Oceanview track closure policy, the Oceanview track in Burleigh Head National Park is closed until declared safe.

Vehicle access to the Green Mountains (O’Reilly’s) section of Lamington National Park is via Lamington National Park road (via Canungra) only.

As a result of damage due to wildfire, the Binna Burra section of Lamington National Park is temporarily closed until declared safe.

See QLD Park alerts or follow Qld park alerts on Twitter for latest details.

See Big Volcano National Parks of the Tweed Volcano Region for brief histories and descriptions.

See also Big Volcano Camping Grounds: Camping grounds in the Northern Rivers, Gold Coast and Scenic Rim region can range from primitive camp grounds on a farm bush block, through to private tourist parks and council run holiday parks with all the mod cons.

You’ll also find camp grounds, car camping, tent camping and walk-in camping available in many of the World Heritage listed national parks of the region.

Lismore Eat the Street in March

Lismore Eat the Street serves up delicious fun for all ages

If you love your food, art and music, then Lismore is the place to be on Saturday March 14 as the much loved Eat the Street festival returns for its sixth year with a new sponsor – NORCO.

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“This year we are excited to announce that NORCO has come on board as the naming rights sponsor of the event,” Lismore City Council’s Acting City Centre Manager Nathan Dee said.

“NORCO is an iconic Lismore business and it is very fitting that they are now an integral part of the Northern Rivers premier food event.

NORCO Chairman, Greg McNamara said this is a big year for the local dairy co-operative which is celebrating its 125^th year of operation and was proud to support Eat the Street.

“Lismore has always been a big part of NORCO’s history and to now partner with an event that supports Lismore’s local food industry feels very natural,” he said.

Now in its sixth year, the event that runs from noon to 9pm, attracts ‘foodies’ and ‘culture’ buffs from far and wide and has become a highlight on the North Coast’s events calendar as a festival not to be missed.

Last year, the festival attracted more than 25,000 people and organisers are hoping for an even bigger crowd this year.

Mr Dee said the heart of the city will once again be closed to traffic and transformed into a sea of beautiful white marquees with over 50 fabulous food, wine, art & craft stalls.

Inspired by a world of street food styles, our local cafes and restaurants will showcase fresh regional cuisine proving fabulous tasting plates priced at $5 and $10. There are tempting treats from every corner of the globe, luscious libations from our region’s boutique beverage purveyors and stalls brimming with spectacular local product.

There will also be plenty of entertainment throughout the day with guest chefs cooking on stage and an entertainment stage with local musicians running throughout the event.

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“Sit out on the street, under the trees, and try food from all over the Northern Rivers region, as well as handcrafted beer and gin, delicious desserts and so much more,” Mr Dee said.

“People love our Eat the Street food festival – it has become one of Lismore’s signature events.

Special ticketed events will be held in the lead up to March 14, such as the Farm Gate Tour, Progressive Dinner, Celebrity Chef Masterclass and more.

To find out more about Eat the Street go to www.eatthestreetlismore.com.au

ENDS

See also Big Volcano Places – Lismore:

Chasing Waterfalls

It’s amazing what some rain will do.

Watefalls are flowing strongly again, after a number of days with downpours and steady light rain.

The rainforest is rejoicing.

Photograph courtesy of Instagram @explorespringbrook via @reposty_app

“ Purling Brook Falls taken this morning by one of our locals. It’s nice to see our waterfalls flowing again! If you’re planning on chasing waterfalls this weekend, best to head up via Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd. Access via Mudgeeraba will be closed on & off due to overflowing causeway. ”