UPDATE: April 2, 11.30am
Cessnock City Council has announced it will close the Cessnock Waste Management Centre and the Greta Transfer Station to the public from Friday, April 3 in response to COVID-19 restrictions.
The waste management centre will remain open to commercial businesses who can provide proof of their business operation such as a rate notice or other documentation, and to residents who don't receive a kerbside waste service and are in receipt of an alternate waste voucher.
UPDATE: March 27, 4pm
While a number of services, events and regular programs have been impacted due to the ongoing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation, Cessnock City Council says it is committed to ensuring that disruption to the community and staff is minimised as much as is practicable.
Council announced on Friday that all public barbecues, children's playgrounds, outdoor gyms, skateparks, and a number of public toilets would be closed.
It follows the closures of council's administration building, the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre, Cessnock Performing Arts Centre and Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries.
Cessnock Library has moved it ever-popular Storytime sessions online, with regular "Song and Story" videos from the library's childrens and young adult officer Sandy Ryan being uploaded to its Facebook page.
The library's e-Branch is also available at any time with access to a range of digital media, a service that may prove invaluable as State and Federal Governments call for people to stay at home.
Where possible, it's "business as usual" for council and its staff, with all services available online or via the phone.
All major works and projects underway remain unaffected at this time.
Advance Cessnock City will continue to provide advice and support for businesses through its online business portal, with up-to-date information and resources relating to COVID-19.
Council's General Manager, Lotta Jackson said it's important during this time that community interactions with council continue.
"Our aim is to ensure that our community can still access vital services and up to date information during this time. Work from home contingency arrangements are in place for staff to guarantee that there is as little disturbance to services as possible," Ms Jackson said.
For more information on council services, visit cessnock.nsw.gov.au.
EARLIER REPORT: March 26, 2.43pm
Cessnock City Council has closed a number of facilities to the public in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, with its administration building and Hunter Valley Visitor Centre among the latest closures to be announced.
At this stage, the Cessnock Waste Management Centre remains open to the public. All staff on site at the Waste Management Centre have been provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment needed to safely carry out daily operations.
However, in order to practice effective social distancing - maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres - staff may not be able to assist customers with the removal of materials once they are on site.
The centre has electronic payment systems on site, and contactless payment for any services is strongly encouraged where possible.
Members of the community shouldn't visit a council facility if feeling unwell, have returned from overseas in the past 14 days or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Customers should practice social distancing at all times.
Council's general manager Lotta Jackson said the focus is on maintaining services for the community while not jeopardising public health and safety.
"We are continually having to respond to this rapidly changing crisis. Council staff are meeting daily to discuss the latest developments, which allows for us to respond quickly where required," Ms Jackson said.
"For example, minimising face-to-face contact has meant closing council's administration building to the public for now.
"However, our customer service team can still be contacted via phone on 4993 4100 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and information may be accessed via council's website."
EARLIER REPORT: March 25, 9.22pm
Cessnock City Council has suspended face-to-face services in its administration building and Hunter Valley Visitor Centre in response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.
While face-to-face service is not an option during this period, customers can stay connected via phone, email or council's website.
Bills can be paid over the phone using credit card or via council's website. Payments can also be made using Post Billpay.
For inquiries about rates, contact council via phone or email.
In relation to companion animals, customers can register dogs online via the Pet Registry or by emailing details to council. Desexing information can also be emailed. All other inquiries can be dealt with over the phone.
A variety of requests can be lodged online, including about waste, roads and community spaces.
Stay in touch by calling council's contact centre on 4993 4100, by emailing email@example.com or visiting council's website: cessnock.nsw.gov.au.
The visitor centre team will be available by phone during business hours on 4993 6700.
Duty Planning, Duty Building Services and Duty Environmental Health Services provided at the Council Administration Building will now be offered over the phone and via email until further notice.
Inspections of food businesses will also cease temporarily, except in the event of a serious food-borne illness outbreak, until further notice. This is in accordance with advice from the NSW Food Authority.
"Cessnock City Council is committed to providing services and support to residents during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis," a council spokesperson said.
"Council is continually reviewing its services during this time to ensure the health and safety of both customers and staff.
"We thank you for your support and understanding during these difficult times as we continue to work to ensure we provide quality customer service safely."
The council has also announced that its April 1 meeting has been cancelled, with the next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 15.
Council's general manager Lotta Jackson said this decision has been made as part of the ongoing risk management associated with the spread of COVID-19.
"The welfare of Councillors, staff and our community is paramount as we all face this difficult time together. We are continually having to respond to this rapidly changing crisis," Ms Jackson said.
"We thank the community for their understanding and urge them to follow every direction from the Federal and State Government to keep us all safe."
This decision has been made by the Mayor in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993, Section 226(d).
Council meetings are recorded and can be accessed on council's website.