News updates: Local impact of COVID-19 measures

Please find an overview below of the impacts of COVID-19 measures on Council-related activities or operations as they become available.

For more updates on Council-related events, see www.tamworth.nsw.gov/covid19

Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Council’s Entertainment Venues Division has provided an update on upcoming events that have been rescheduled or postponed. These events were to be held at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre (TRECC) or the Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall:

Events rescheduled:

  • TRECC – The Deputy Principals Association Conference scheduled for Wednesday 2 September until Friday 4 September has been rescheduled to 2022.
  • TRECC – The Australian Coal Preparation Society conference scheduled for Tuesday 25 August to Friday 28 August has been rescheduled to March 2021.

Events cancelled:

  • Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall – The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Societies Lectures scheduled for Friday 15 May and Friday 12 June has been cancelled.
  • TRECC – The Jehovah’s Witness September Convention scheduled for Friday 11 September to Sunday 13 September, and Saturday 18 September to Monday 20 September has been cancelled. 

Thursday 2 April, 2020

Here is an overview of the impacts of COVID-19 measures today which have emerged for Council-related activities or operations:

  • An Extraordinary Meeting of Tamworth Regional Council - where Councillors will consider options to support business and impacted residents - will be held on Monday 6 April at noon in the Council Chambers, Ray Walsh House, Tamworth. A Mayoral Minute will detail Council’s proposed support package. The business paper for the meeting has now been published and can be found at www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au/business-papers Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray said the package includes initiatives for all ratepayers and business. “Council does not have the authority waive rates and the package focuses on the areas where it can have an immediate impact, which is to support local businesses - because this is the most direct way we can support the local economy,” he said. “If we do what we can to help businesses continue to trade, they can continue to employ people.” While the meeting will be in the Council Chambers (being a gathering for essential work purposes), Councillors are being given the option to join through video conferencing. Any members of the public who wish to speak in the community consultation part of the meeting are also being asked to participate by video conferencing or by providing a pre-recorded video of a three-minute presentation to be played at the meeting. For those community members who would like to see the meeting, it is live streamed and can be accessed through Council’s website at www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au/streaming
  • The Tamworth Growers’ Market has made the decision to temporarily suspend their weekly Saturday morning event in Tamworth’s Bicentennial Park. Market Manager Nancy Nelson advised Council of the decision. “We believe the best way to ensure the safety of all of us is to cease operating in the public space until such time as we believe it safe to congregate in public again,” she said. The ‘Tamworth Growers Market’ Facebook page will continue to be used to provide a way for stallholders to stay in contact with the community.

Monday 30 March, 2020

Here is an overview of the impacts of COVID-19 measures today which have emerged for Council-related activities or operations:

  • Tamworth Regional Council offices across the local government area will close at the end of business today. Council’s Director Corporate and Governance, Chris Weber, said after the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday night reducing the previous gathering limit of 10 people being cut to two, there was no option but to close Council’s offices at Tamworth, Barraba, Manilla and Nundle. “We simply could not keep the offices open with this new stricter but necessary measure,” he said. “While the doors of offices will be closed to customers, we will continue to provide our services on the phone, through email and online.” Mr Weber said some other Council’s around NSW had already closed their offices. “Our offices will be operating as usual today but when the doors close at the end of the working day, they will remain closed for the foreseeable future,’’ he said.
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service announced last week that all campgrounds, high visitation areas and historic sites across NSW would be closed until further notice in response to tighter Federal and State Government health directives. However all roads and most walking tracks and trails remain open. These changes have impacted Warrabah National Park, Watsons Creek National Park and Horton Falls National Park in the Tamworth region.

For more updates on Council-related events, see www.tamworth.nsw.gov/covid19

Friday 27 March, 2020

Here is an overview of the impacts of COVID-19 measures today which have emerged for Council-related activities or operations:

  • In line with Public Health (COVID-19 Gatherings) Order (no 2) 2020 under the Public Health Act 2010, Tamworth Regional Council is closing all camping grounds across the Tamworth region effective immediately. These closures will impact sites including Sheba Dams, Split Rock Dam and Manilla Freedom Camping amongst a range of other locations. Signs are being erected at impacted sites to inform the public. Public Health (COVID-19 Gatherings) Order (no 2) 2020 provides that caravan parks and camping grounds must not be open to the public except for the purposes of allowing permanent caravan park residents or others who have no permanent place of residence.
  • In line with the Federal Government’s recommended stricter controls to slow the spread of COVID-19, Tamworth Regional Council has made some significant temporary changes to our parks including the closure of all playground equipment. Tamworth Regional Council Manager Sport and Recreation Paul Kelly said the moves are aimed at reducing the risk of groups of more than 10 people coming together and to limit the spread of the virus through multiple use of equipment. “The clear message we have from health experts is that we should stay at home unless necessary but some residents are continuing to gather at our parks without following the recommended social distancing,” he said. Effective from today, play equipment at some 150 parks across the region are no longer available for use. This includes Tamworth Regional Playground, the outdoor gym and splash pad at Bicentennial Park, Tamworth, closure of Tamworth Marsupial Park and closure of Tamworth Regional Skate Park at Tamworth’s Viaduct Park. Barbecues at public parks will no longer be in use. Tamworth Region Botanic Gardens will remain open. 
  • Tomorrow’s Tamworth Growers Market at Bicentennial Park will open for stall holders selling food only. This is in line with guidelines Federal Government announced this week allowing only markets for food services to open with social distancing requirements in place. Stall holders have been asked to keep 1.5m distance from other people, regularly wash their hands and use sanitiser, cough or sneeze into their elbow and encourage cashless transactions.
    Council has decided the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre will close after lunch time today.
    The Strings and Beans Café will close at lunchtime today until further notice.
    The National Guitar Museum and the Galaxy of Stars Wax Museum were closed earlier in the week.

Wednesday 25 March, 2020

  • The Tamworth Regional Youth Centre at West Tamworth has closed its doors following the Prime Minister’s announcement of stricter controls on everyday life to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Tamworth Regional Council Team Leader Youth Services Kate Allwell said the centre’s celebration of Youth Week starting on 1 April will now move online. “We encourage young people to keep an eye on our Facebook page – we hope to have some online activities,” she said. “We will also be calling for expressions of interest in joining the Tamworth Regional Youth Council.” www.facebook.com/tamworthyouthiepage/
  • Tamworth Musical Society and Capitol Theatre Tamworth has confirmed that the show will go on with the postponed production of Mamma Mia! in March next year. It has been set down for May, 2020. The new opening night will be Friday 5 March 2021 and the season of 13 performances will run through to Saturday 20 March, 2021.
  • The new date for the Q20 Australian Quarter Horse Association National Show is 14-19 October, 2020 at the Australian Livestock and Events Centre (AELEC). It was originally to run from 1 April to 15 April, 202 For more about postponed AELEC events, go to www.aelec.com.au/events

Tuesday 24 March, 2020

  • The dedicated volunteers who give their time to operate Tamworth Visitor information Centre are taking a break due to health risks related to COVID-19 but its doors will remain open. Tamworth Regional Council Director Business and Community John Sommerlad said Council staff will ensure the centre remains open. “We want to keep the centre open so we can provide information to visitors to the city,’’ he said. “We expect this is likely not to be tourist type information, but more so service information.” The closure of both the Nundle and Manilla visitor information outlets was announced last week after health concerns prompted volunteers to decide to step back for the time being. Visitor information in Barraba is provided by staff at Council’s office in Queen Street which remains open.
  • A Zone Football Gala Day at Tamworth’s Gipps Street Sporting Complex organised by the Taree, Hunter and Central Coast Christian Schools Association is among the latest events planned for local sports facilities to be cancelled. The St Joseph’s Primary School Cross Country to be held at Gipps Street on 9 April and the Nundle Mustang Muster planned by the New England Mustang Owners Club for the Nundle Recreation Ground on 26 April have also been cancelled.

Monday 23 March, 2020

  • Tamworth’s Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) has today closed its gates to all public activity, in line with today’s increased NSW and Federal government COVID-19 measures to restrict people movement and have non-essential businesses close. Tamworth Regional Council Manager AELEC Precinct, Mike Rowland, said the venue is not operating for events until further notice. “We will continue to work with event organisers to find potential dates for rescheduling. One example is one of our largest events, the annual NCHA Futurity which was scheduled for 13-days from May 26 and will now start on 28 October this year and run into November.” For more about AELEC events, go to www.aelec.com.au/events
  • Similarly, all Council pools which have been continuing to operate including Tamworth’s Scully Park, Manilla, Barraba and Kootingal closed at noon today. They were due to close at the end of the season on April 9.  The latest changes to ‘social distancing’ COVID-19 measures has also prompted the closure of Tamworth Sports Dome today at noon. For the time being, Marsupial Park and Tamworth Region Botanic Gardens in Tamworth will remain open but all events are cancelled. Council staff will today start to telephone anyone with bookings to advise them of the change.
  • Tamworth Regional Gallery will close from tomorrow for the foreseeable future. Tamworth Regional Council Director Gallery and Museums, Bridget Guthrie, said the decision has been made today based on the latest advice from Australian health experts, new government guidelines for indoor gatherings and an increasing need to comply with social distancing measures. “The health and wellbeing of staff and visitors is our top priority, and this precautionary measure will ensure their safety and assist health services in their efforts against COVID-19,” Ms Guthrie said. “This is an uncertain time for everyone, and our thoughts are with our extended family of artists and the arts industry, and our loyal community of members, supporters, friends and visitors.” Ms Guthrie said the dedicated team at the gallery will continue to work behind the scenes. “We will keep local art lovers connected to the artists, exhibitions and our collections,” she said. “For those looking for relief from the everyday, we hope that art can still have a place in your new normal. We will continue to share our collection and exhibitions with you through social media on Facebook, Instagram and our website www.tamworthregionalgallery.com.au”. 
  • Tamworth and District Model Engineers Inc has made the difficult decision to close the Tamworth Miniature Railway at Victoria Park. The club held its monthly open day and ran the model trains last Sunday (the usual third Sunday of the month). The club will reassess the closure in May. The group is represented on the Victoria Park Coordination Committee, a 355 Committee of Tamworth Regional. For media comment please contact club president David Scott on 6762 2375 or 0409 418 278.
  • From today (23 March, 2020) Tamworth’s Forest Road Landfill will only accept payments by card. Staff at the weighbridge will not be handling cash as part of measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Cash payments will continue to be accepted at our landfill sites in other parts of the region where card facilities are not available.
  • Council is asking any ratepayers or residents needing information or help with a matter to consider using their telephone, email or the MyTRC app rather than visit one of Council’s offices in person. There is a range of payment options available including at Australia Post, BPAY, credit card over the phone or Direct Debit.  Requests can be made by calling 6767 5555, using the app, sending an email to trc@tamworth.nsw.gov.au or a direct message through Facebook. All Council’s offices including Ray Walsh House in Peel Street, Tamworth, are currently open to the public for their usual hours. 
  • The Tamworth Community Centre - in Darling Street, Tamworth - will close to the public from today. Tamworth Regional Council Manager Entertainment Venues, Peter Ross, said the closure will be up to and including Sunday 26 April. “At the moment this is an ever changing landscape and the health and safety of the public and our staff is of the utmost importance.” he said. For further updates on Entertainment Venues events and venues please visit www.entertainmentvenues.com.au.

Friday 20 March, 2020

  • The Tamworth Regional Council Heritage Working Group has cancelled the Tamworth Regional Heritage Awards event along with the Heritage Festival activities planned for 8 – 17 May. Working Group chair Councillor Juanita Wilson said the decision to cancel the awards event and the festival did not come lightly. “The decision was made in the best interest of the community,” she said. “We will still announce the Tamworth Regional Heritage Awards as planned. This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the achievement of preserving and promoting the heritage of the region. The working group will discuss options on how to present the awards in a virtual or online setting.” 
  • Mayworth – the Australian Country Dance Festival – is the latest annual Tamworth event to be postponed due to the Federal Government’s recommended COVID-19 measures banning non-essential indoor gatherings for more than 100 people. The four-day event which was to start on 30 April at West Tamworth League Club is the biggest line dance festival in Australia. Event directors Chris and Gemma Watson are hoping to reschedule it for later this year. Tamworth Regional Council supports Mayworth through the Destination Tamworth Event Support Program
  • An exhibition from the Australian War Memorial, Reality in Flames, will not tour to Tamworth as planned to open in June at Tamworth Regional Gallery. The Memorial has cancelled its touring program until the end of June 2020. From today Tamworth Regional Gallery has suspended all regular public and educational programs. This includes 28 public events and all educational events scheduled for local schools during this term and term 2.
  • At Tamworth’s Capitol Theatre, Taylor Henderson - The A-Team Tour has been rescheduled to Saturday 12 December 2020 while Les Diva’s: An All Male Revue has been rescheduled to Friday 11 September, 2020.
  • The Q20 Australian Quarter Horse Association National Show which was to be held at the Australian Livestock and Events Centre (AELEC) from 1 April to 15 April has been postponed. The association is working with the team at the AELEC to secure a new date.
  • The weekly Saturday morning Tamworth Parkrun which follows a route from near the Australian Country Music Foundation Hall of Fame along the CBD levee bank though Bicentennial Park has been cancelled until further notice. The National Servicemen of Australia Memorial Service on 28 March at the memorial near Tamworth Railway Station has also been cancelled.
  • Tamworth and District Model Engineers Inc have made the difficult decision to close the Tamworth Miniature Railway at Victoria Park as part of measures to slow the spread of  COVID-19.The club held its monthly open day and ran the model trains last Sunday (the usual third Sunday of the month). It will reassess the decision in May. The group is represented on the Victoria Park Coordination Committee, a 355 Committee of Tamworth Regional Council.

Thursday 19 March, 2020

  • Tamworth Regional Gallery and all council libraries will suspend its face-to-face public programs from close of business today. Tamworth Regional Council Director Gallery and Museums, Bridget Guthrie, said it was a difficult decision where the health needs of both the community and staff comes first. “We had already cancelled major events such as exhibition openings in line with the COVID-19 measures banning indoor gatherings of 100 or more people,” she said. “Now our other smaller group programs of art for primary and high school students, art for pre-schoolers, and various classes for adults and school tours will now not proceed.” The gallery itself remains open with its hours unchanged. Tamworth Regional Council Manager Cultural Services, Kay Delahunt, said staff at council’s libraries are now looking at adapting some of its face-to-face programs online. “We know our programs such as Storytime are much-loved but at the current time it is best that these take a break,” she said. “In good news, our home library service will continue to operate.” As part of the service, books are selected and packed by library staff on a Friday and delivered to borrowers the following Tuesday. The book can be left at the borrower’s door if necessary.  For library updates, follow the Tamworth City Library Facebook page and check the Central Northern Regional Library Website www.cnl.nsw.gov.au
  • Following the Federal Government announcement banning non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, Ian Moss has cancelled the remainder of his Matchbook 30th Anniversary Tour. Moss was to play at Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall on Saturday 21 March, 2020.
  • Three other events at Council’s Entertainment Venues have been cancelled overnight and many have been postponed. The Northwest Regional Careers Expo (19 and 20 May), and JoblinkPlus Resilience and Wellbeing Forum (2-4 June) both at Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre (TRECC) will not go ahead. The Moscow Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty (Saturday 4 April) at Capitol Theatre is cancelled. Ticketholders for shows impacted will be contacted by Entertainment Venues staff in the coming days.

  • The Independent Miniature Horse Registry Grand National Event which was to be held at the Australian Livestock and Events Centre from Monday 28 -28 March, 2020, has been postponed. The 2020 Australian Stock Horse Society National Championships, planned for 24-30 April 2020 at the AELEC, has been cancelled.

  • The free Microchipping Day for dogs and cats planned for 21 May, 2020 and run by Council in partnership with the Tamworth RSPCA and Tamworth TAFE has been cancelled. The day set down for 29 October, 2020, at the Tamworth Regional Youth Centre is still going ahead at this stage.

  • Tamworth’s NAIDOC Week celebrations, planned for July, have been postponed in line with the National NAIDOC Committee’s decision to reschedule later in the year. A new date has not been set. The 2020 NAIDOC Grant Round has been suspended until further notice.

Wednesday 18 March, 2020

  • Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray has announced an immediate temporary blanket exemption from any existing delivery curfews in place for supermarkets across the Tamworth Local Government Area. “It’s a logical decision in these extraordinary circumstances we are currently experiencing – it’s sensible we clear the way for deliveries to be made to local supermarkets,” he said. “The exemption means we are eliminating red tape because individual supermarkets will not need to apply for a modification to their current consent.” Major retailers have been advocated for council delivery curfews across the nation to be temporarily to allow distributors to replenish stock. “This is a responsible move to balance the amenity of our local residents with the need to facilitate restocking and delivery to supermarkets and shops of essential household items, as well as to play a role in minimising distress due to stock shortages and to help restore confidence,” Cr Murray said.
  • Visitor Information Outlets at Nundle and Manilla will be closed for the foreseeable future in a move aimed at minimising possible health risks from COVID-19 exposure to volunteers. Most of the volunteers are older residents of those communities. Their last day operating was yesterday. Tamworth Regional Council Acting Manager Strategic Planning, Kay Burnes, said: “Given the age demographics of the volunteers it is the best solution to addressing a control measure relative to the Coronavirus,” she said.
    For the same reason, Moonbi Museum - a Council-owned facility run by a volunteer committee under Section 355 of the Local Government Act - has closed its doors. The Tamworth Regional Film and Sound Archive, also a Section 355 Committee, has suspended meeting in its archive room in Ray Walsh House for the time being although some of the members will be working on projects from home.
  • In line with social distancing guidelines issued by the Australian Government, the Nundle Parents and Citizens Association has postponed the 2020 Great Nundle Dog Race that was to be held on Sunday, 3 May. The event has been rescheduled for Sunday 25 October. The Great Nundle Dog Race is supported by Tamworth Regional Council through the Destination Tamworth Event Marketing Support Program.
  • The annual visit by Tamworth’s 2020 Queen of Country Music (Emily Lysaght) to the Tussock Country - the Gore District Council country music festival in May will not take place this year following the event’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of the student exchange for ANZAC Day between the two Sister Cities was announced yesterday afternoon.
  • Various events at Council entertainment and sporting facilities and have been postponed or cancelled. This is changing several times each day.

Tuesday 17 March, 2020

  • Tamworth Powerstation Museum will be closed from tomorrow for the forseeable future to minimise any possible risks to its mostly elderly volunteers. Tamworth Regional Council Director Gallery and Museums, Bridget Guthrie, said the volunteers are passionate about their work at the museum but felt they had no alternative but to step away from their roles temporarily as part of the community-wide measures needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Volunteer Ron Greer said it was not a decision taken lightly. “We are all disappointed that this has had to happen. A large number of the people who visit the museum are elderly and many of the volunteers are elderly. Some of our volunteers have health issues which are well managed but it makes them more vulnerable – we have to act in the best interests of everyone’s health.” In the coming weeks there were 12 bookings for museum tours including school groups and some visitors from South Australia. Mr Greer spent this morning contacting them all to advise them of the museum closure. Mr Greer said some of the volunteers will continue to work behind closed doors in groups of three or four at a time. He said there are cataloguing tasks and work to be done to maintain and update displays.
  • The Harmony Day events planned for Saturday 21 March, at the Tamworth City Library and Tamworth Regional Gallery have been cancelled. ‘You are a Living Book’ was an event at the library aiming to bring the community together to share and listen to stories of belonging and acceptance. At the gallery, ‘Elsewhere’ exhibition curator Dr Sam Bowker was to give a guided tour after the ‘You are a Living Book’ event.
  • Tamworth Regional Gallery and Tamworth City Library have reduced their public programs with no large scale events going ahead. Small events including Storytime and Innovation Studio classes are going ahead at this stage. Both the gallery and libraries are open for their usual hours. The library’s home library service is continuing to operate.
  • The Tamworth Regional Council citizenship ceremony scheduled for Thursday this week has been cancelled. A group of 61 local residents are ready to become Australian citizens. They were born in the Philippines, India, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Malta, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan and Ireland. Candidates will now be part of the next ceremony which is currently scheduled for 21 May, 2020. In circumstances of urgency, the Mayor will provide one-on-one ‘’ceremonies’’.
  • Council’s Section 355 Committees have suspended their meetings and events until 14 June 2020 in line with the NSW Minister for Health’s Public Health (COVID-19 Public Events) Order 2020. Any halls managed by Section 355 Committees remain available for hire and use with individual hirers or event organisers to carry out the usual required risk assessment.
  • The annual Gore Student Exchange for ANZAC Day has been cancelled for 2020. Local student Bailey Wolrige was to visit the Tamworth Region’s sister city in New Zealand and take part in its ANZAC Day commemorations. A Gore ambassador was to have visited Tamworth.

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