Update on City’s swimming centres

18 Mar 2020

City of Newcastle (CN) is working in collaboration with government partners including NSW Health to ensure our city is prepared in the event of the further spread of COVID-19 to the region.

In order to do all we can to limit the transmission of the virus and to prioritise the wellbeing of staff and the community, the end of season closure will be brought forward to Monday 23 March for City-owned swimming centres across the local government area.

City of Newcastle Interim Director City Wide Services Alissa Jones said the decision affected the City-operated Beresfield Swimming Centre, along with Lambton, Mayfield, Stockton and Wallsend Swimming Centres, operated by BlueFit Aquatics.

“In collaboration with BlueFit we have brought forward the final day of the season to 23 March 2020 as part of our commitment to the health and wellbeing of staff and the community,” Ms Jones said.

“This means that all swimming centres in Newcastle will be closed from Monday 23 March 2020.

“City of Newcastle will continue to provide lifeguard services at our beaches and ocean baths. Information on patrol hours can be found on our website.

“The City’s key objectives are to provide timely information about any changes to services or the operation of our facilities and to support the State and Federal Governments to manage the impact of the pandemic.

“City of Newcastle will adjust operations to further protect public health and the health of our staff and volunteers.

“City of Newcastle is working with staff affected by the early closure of the Beresfield Swimming Centre to minimise the adverse impact on them.”

BlueFit CEO Todd McHardy said BlueFit has considered a number of strategic approaches to ensure the best outcomes for both community and staff.

“The responsible solution across the Newcastle region is to bring forward the winter closure for all facilities to commence on Monday 23 March 2020, the final day of trade being Sunday 22 March 2020,” Mr McHardy said.

“Safety is our number one priority and with ongoing government-imposed reductions in mass gathering numbers and further recommendations on social distancing, we believe closing the Newcastle swimming venues will limit the transmission of the virus in our community.

“We recognise the financial impact this has on our staff and the broader community, therefore, BlueFit has developed a safety net strategy to support our team and customers in times of hardship in an effort to reduce the impact across our network.

“All learn to swim program participants will be notified through separate correspondence of relevant closures and program disruption. We are committed to supporting both the community and our staff through this period and we are grateful for the strong partnership we have with the City of Newcastle to assist us through these tough decisions.

“We feel the impact on the community will be minimal given we are entering the end of the summer season and with the magnificent beaches and ocean baths available in Newcastle, and prioritises the health and wellbeing of staff and the broader community.”

Further information about the City’s response is available at Newcastle.nsw.gov.au/COVID-19