An Open Letter from the Shire President to the Community

Published on Friday, 27 March 2020 at 11:07:19 AM

As the community would be aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is currently having a significant impact and leaving virtually no community anywhere around the globe untouched.

I, Council and Staff at the Shire of Gingin, would like to assure the community that we are working hard to put in place measures to support our communities including businesses, residents and visitors currently staying in our Shire during this crisis.

The situation continues to change rapidly and the Shire endeavours to enact new measures as quickly as possible based upon the latest advice received from the State Government and Federal Governments, the Department of Health and other authorities. Our number one priority is the wellbeing of our communities and supporting those most in need however we may during this challenging period.

As your Shire President I would like to remind everyone that we are in this together. We have a very long road ahead of us as we head into the cold and flu season. I would like all community members to in particular, adhere to the following:

Social Distancing Measures & Other Health Advice

I cannot stress this clearly enough: please follow the recommendations being put out by the Department of Health and the State and Federal Governments. Our Premier and Prime Minister are both very insistent upon these points and I concur with their stance.

These restrictions are being put in place to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. We need to work together to make sure we slow down the spread of COVID-19 as much as we can so that we are not unduly taxing our Health systems and exposing the vulnerable.

At a basic level this includes:

  • Social distancing – please maintain at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other individuals, especially when you are in a public place. Aim to minimise all unnecessary contact with others.
  • Gatherings – the advice remains to avoid having gatherings (even at home) of more than a few people. Further details relating to exactly what type of restrictions are in place for public venues and public areas, etc. can be found via
  • Use ‘Tap and Go’ – most places where you can purchase goods and services have this option to pay for your purchases by tapping your credit card/debit card on the EFTPOS machine as opposed to paying with cash. Please utilise it if you can.
  • Wash your hands regularly – use soap and water for at least 20 seconds which is best practice but hand sanitiser is also very effective.
  • Avoid shaking hands – not easy to remember to do but very necessary.
  • Cover your mouth/nose when you cough/sneeze – use a tissue or cough/sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Do not cough into your hands and if you do, wash them immediately.
  • Stay home if you are sick – even if you haven’t contracted COVID-19 and simply have a regular cold, please do not go out in public or to work or school. Remain at home.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces – this includes things like mobile phones, table tops, door handles, etc.

Further information and advice is available via:

Travel (including Caravan Parks)

As the community would be aware Domestic, International and State Border controls have been put in place by the State and Federal Governments. The community is strongly encouraged not to travel at this point in time unless the need is absolutely essential.

I would like to ask that the community to please have a care for those who are in our Shire at this point in time who may be very far from home including grey nomads, foreign backpackers and other travellers.

Caravan Parks are allowed to remain open along with other accommodation facilities such as hotels, hostels, etc. This is because these travellers need somewhere to reside during this crisis. Consequently, the Guilderton Caravan Park will remain open although non-essential visitors are not encouraged to visit by the Shire.

The community should also be aware that when the Prime Minister makes an announcement imposing new restrictions, it is up to the individual States and Territories to enact these measures. This means that the application of these restrictions is not always instantaneous and there may be delays before new restrictions come into place in WA.

Community Support

It is inevitable that COVID-19 will eventually be contracted by one of our community members (if it hasn’t been already). If you contract the virus then you will be issued a directive to stay at home for 14 days and to self-isolate. During this period you are free to move anywhere within the boundaries of your property but you may not leave. If you choose to disobey the directive then you could face a maximum penalty of up to $50,000 in WA. Therefore, I implore you to please do the right thing. If you need groceries or other activities carrying out then you will have to arrange for a third party to do this for you.

Likewise, I ask that the community act sensibly and respectfully if and when it becomes public knowledge that an individual in any of our communities has contracted COVID-19. Please remember that firstly it is not the individual person’s fault and that secondly, after the crisis has passed you will continue to inhabit the same community as they do.

If you become concerned that the individual in question has breached the conditions of the directive to self-isolate then the Shire of Gingin recommends that you question the individual first (via telephone or email) and if you are not satisfied with the response then contact WA Police on 131 444.

Please also respect the rights of your fellow community members (and family members for that matter) to put in place whatever social distancing measures they would like. What they chose to put in place they are generally not putting in place to specifically offend you personally.

For the information of the community, local government (meaning the Shire of Gingin) is not privy to any details regarding anyone that has contracted the virus who resides in our Shire. That information is being retained at a State level.

We are in this together. Our country and indeed, all nations around the world, are facing extraordinary times. We’ve seen some great examples of community spirit online in all sorts of forms already and we will surely see more as these trying times bring out the best in humanity.

Please take care. Look after each other and practice the compassion, kindness and understanding that I have taken pride in witnessing so often in our communities.


Kind Regards,

Cr Wayne Fewster

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