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Call for community to work together through pandemic

Bourke Shire Council General Manager Ross Earl exercising good social distancing at a Bourke Council meeting on Monday with Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman and Councillor John Thompson (at back). PHOTO TWH

Like the rest of the nation, Bourke is in virtual lockdown, with the Bowling Club, the Port of Bourke Hotel, Diggers on the Darling, the swimming pool, the Back of Bourke Exhibition Centre, library, cafes, sports clubs, and the PCYC closed.

Cafes and restaurants are restricted to takeaway meals only, and the Bourke Hospital, Bourke Post Office, 2WEB and other premises are limiting access.

The main street, normally starting to fill with tourists and caravans, is eerily quiet as residents obey the Federal government’s mandate to stay home, avoid social contact unless necessary, maintain distance and personal space and follow hygiene recommendations.

Bourke Shire Council held a meeting with member organisations of the Emergency Management Committee to ensure the community was prepared for whatever was ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost every event scheduled for the next few weeks or months has been cancelled or postponed, including the Bourke Show, the Easter Festival, the Picnic Races, football matches, and indoor activities. Special arrangement have been announced for weddings and funerals.

General Manager Ross Earl said Council was reviewing the use of its facilities with a high priority on preparedness in the event anyone presents with symptoms of the virus.

“We also want to ensure we have a cleaning regimen in place in case there is a discovery of someone who has been infected.

“We are maintaining services such as water, sewerage and garbage.

“The biggest impact from a community point of view will be our tourist industry, with the Exhibition Centre closed in accordance with the requirements regarding essential services, as well as the Jandra and the Crossley Engine.

Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.

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