By TONY FOSTER
WE are certainly in changing times. Social distancing, working from home or remote locations, only venturing out for essential reasons, closures of hotels, restaurants and public venues and a range of other sacrifices have become the new normal as the world attempts to overcome the unprecedented coronavirus emergency.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Brighton Municipality who is acting responsibly and heeding the messages and advice that we are being given by our State and Federal Governments and the State and National health authorities.
The health of our families and our community very much depends on us doing the right thing. Unfortunately, there is not yet a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and as all the health experts tell us, the best protection at the moment is to maintain social distancing and where necessary and instructed, social isolation.
Of course, we still need to leave home for food supplies, other essential purchases, exercise, medical visits and the like and many of our businesses are being inventive, providing take away and home delivery services. Where possible, I urge you to support our local businesses. Some of them are featured in this issue of Brighton Community News.
But undoubtedly, the messages of ‘stay at home saves lives’ but importantly, ‘stay connected’ are all resonating with everyone and it is really vital we continue to abide by these rules so that we hopefully can get back to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.
I urge you to use this time to do special things with your family, to think about work that needs to be done around the house and even get some of those DIY jobs done. Most particularly, spend time with your children. They will be finding it difficult to understand why they can’t do their normal things, like play with their friends, go to the parks, use the equipment and importantly, go back to school.
Make a special effort to give them all of your attention if you’re undertaking homeschooling. It is really important that our children’s education doesn’t suffer and I am sure that homeschooling will give parents a new appreciation of the work of our teachers. If you are finding things difficult, then community groups in our municipality are here to help. For example, Jordan River Services is offering computer and internet time for children who don’t have these facilities in their own home. Please check out the Jordan River Services Facebook page for more information about how you can access those services. And well done to Helen Manser and her team for this wonderful initiative while our schools, Library and other public amenities are temporarily closed.
There are many other support services available in our community too and these can be found on their respective Facebook pages which are being regularly shared on both Brighton Council’s and Brighton Community News’ Facebook pages. Please read them and see if they can be of help to you. They range from Tasmanian Government financial and other support packages for individuals, families, local groups, local business aid, through to special services provided by our many community organisations and wonderful local businesses during these challenging times.
Of course, the Federal Government is providing income and employment support programs as well, and all of this is helping us negotiate this very challenging time.
Our community has done a fantastic job till now doing what we’ve been asked to do, but it’s not time to relax or become complacent. This is difficult for everyone and we are all feeling it, but importantly, we are all in it together.
Watch out for your neighbours, particularly the elderly to ensure they are being looked after and have what they need. At the same time, don’t forget to practise the proper social distancing protocols so that everyone is kept safe. If you feel or see any changes in the way others around you (or indeed yourself) are thinking or feeling, then reach out and encourage them to seek some help through the many available telephone-based support services.
Brighton Council is still operating and you can make contact by phone even though the Council offices themselves remain closed to the public for health and safety reasons. You can contact Council via:
Email – email@example.com
Phone – 6268 7000
Again, thank you for your efforts within our Municipality to ensure that as a community, we are playing our vital part in containing the COVID-19 virus.
With my fellow Brighton Councillors, I greatly appreciate your understanding and support. I can assure you all that Council will continue to work to deliver the services you require as effectively and as efficiently as possible.
I reiterate, heed all the official messages and advice and above all, stay well and stay safe.