The information below outlines the changes to City of Sydney external services in response to the pandemic. This update includes changes to date, with additions since last week’s update in bold. If a service isn’t mentioned it is business as usual.
Increased access to parking for front-line and essential workers
Parking is being made available for any essential services staff free of charge at Goulbourn Street and Kings Cross Parking Stations. NSW Police and staff from the Red Cross Blood Bank have requested and been given access to parking to date.
Neighbourhood Service Centres in Kings Cross and Glebe have been closed. The City’s face to face customer services have ceased with the One Stop Shop now closed. Our community can still engage with us by phone, through our online services or by email.
Cleansing and Waste
There has been an increase in residential waste as people are now spending more time and eating more meals at home. There has been an increase in services in domestic waste particularly focussing on multi-unit dwellings in densely populated areas and the public domain and street litter bins near supermarkets and popular takeaway vendors.
Deep cleaning operations are being conducted in the public domain around hospitals, schools, supermarkets and high traffic take away vendor areas. A roster is being developed to ensure separation between teams for their shifts and within depots.
City Rangers will patrol in pairs, now focusing on compliance around healthcare facilities, hospitals, surgeries, aged care facilities and emergency services venues. Rangers are using discretion and not fining in areas where it is obvious there is available parking and no safety issue caused by overstaying parking.
We are working with the state government and others to ensure essential workers are not fined and if we do inadvertently fine an essential worker we will agree to withdraw the fine. City rangers will also monitor parking trends in the city and we’ll analyse how to best respond as the situation develops. Ordinance Rangers are now patrolling parks and in particular exercise equipment and playgrounds to encourage users to adhere to social distancing measures.
City Greening and Leisure Services
All Aquatic and Leisure facilities, the Perry Park Facility Sports Centre are closed. Playground and exercise equipment, tennis courts and basketball courts are no longer in use. Parks Maintenance Services are business as usual with social distancing measures in place.
All events in City of Sydney venues have either been cancelled or postponed. Sydney Town Hall, Town Hall House and Customs House are now closed to the general public. Staff access will be maintained at this time. Events, activations and non-food markets will no longer be permitted on public land managed by the City.
Split shift arrangements are being introduced to ensure separation between teams. All fleet users are only allowed to have a driver and one passenger seated in the back with windows down. Additional support vehicles are available to carry additional crew members.
Public Space Liaison Officers (PSLO’s) have been out talking to people sleeping rough, providing the most up to date health information along with information about service provision as it changes.
The City is a member of a taskforce established by the Department of Communities and Justice to reduce the number of people sleeping rough. Three hundred new temporary accommodation beds have been released, funded by the Department of Communities and Justice, with all rough sleepers to be provided with a minimum 30 days accommodation. This has been extended to include New Zealand nationals.
The City’s PSLO’s continue to work with rough sleepers and partners to refer people to appropriate, safe accommodation. Some people will of course choose to stay on the streets, and we will continue to support and check in on them. The City is liaising daily with service partners, in particular St Vincent’s Health, NSW Health and the Department of Communities and Justice, to ensure timely and coordinated support and information is provided.
We are communicating with services within our local area and they are providing updates of any changes to their operations or service delivery.
Child and Family Services
Implications of the federal announcement of funding relief for childcare are being assessed. Childcare centres and school holiday programs for children under 13 are considered essential services and remain open where possible.
The City’s school holiday program for young people aged 13 to 18 years or younger if in high school, has been cancelled as many program activity providers have cancelled due to the Federal Government’s social distancing guidelines.
The City’s Out of School Hours (OSHC) program located at the Girls and Boys Brigade Building in Surry Hills has been temporarily suspended because the landlord (Girls and Boys Brigade) has closed the building due to risks associated with COVID19. Attendance at the City run program had dropped last week to zero. There are no
financial or service provision implications for the City. City staff will be reallocated to work at other City OSHC services at Ultimo, KGV or Pyrmont to ensure appropriate ratios continue to be met. The City is not able to provide programming within our own centres.
Community Centres and Libraries
Libraries, Community centres and community venues for hire are now closed to the public. Centre staff are conducting telephone welfare checks on vulnerable community members and connecting them to services where required.
A range of events and programs are being developed for online delivery, including some in languages other than English. Safe City and Social Programs and Services staff are developing a range of resources and community supports available to share as part of the resilience support package, including establishing a community hotline and welfare check in service for vulnerable communities.
Community Transport services have ceased.
The City’s Home Library Service is continuing to serve vulnerable community members where possible. Safe City staff continue to support vulnerable members of our community, including those in social housing where possible.
Roving Ambassadors and Tourism Kiosks
The City’s Roving Ambassadors have ceased as cruise ships will not be visiting Sydney for the foreseeable future and tourism numbers are minimal as a result of travel restrictions. The City’s visitor centres in Customs House, Kings Cross and Haymarket are closed.
Face to face meetings are suspended. Online meetings with applicants are occuring in place of face to face meetings.
The priority is maintaining a timely development assessment service and avoiding a backlog
to support ongoing construction activity and future recovery.
Health and Building
The routine food premises inspection program has been replaced by a food safety hygiene check to safely observe the food handling practices (supports social distancing and includes PE). Proactive public swimming pool and spa inspections suspended. Health inspections of events and festivals have effectively been suspended by Public Health
Proactive (voluntary) inspections of boarding houses have been suspended.
Investigation of unauthorised sex premises have been suspended. Sex services premises and massage parlours have since been closed down following Public Health Orders.
The City’s after hours and late night trial consent proactive inspection program and non-trial high risk program has been effectively suspended by Public Health Orders. Priorities include continuing to provide timely responses under working from home arrangements and understanding our role in supporting state authorities in leading the
enforcement of the Public Health Orders.
Building Certification and Construction regulation
Pre lodgement hoarding inspections are suspended.
General inspection of hoardings and development sites will continue but in a modified format. Priorities include maintaining existing services to support the construction industry (an essential service).
Chief Financial Office
Staff have increased contact with our suppliers, reinforcing our focus on the sustainability of their business.
We are also receiving increased communications from our debtors and ratepayers and our responses are mindful of the deepening economic situation.