City eases COVID-19 pressures for supermarkets and doctors’ surgeries

20 Mar 2020

City of Newcastle will give businesses flexibility to ease pressures relating to COVID-19 by enabling more truck deliveries to supermarkets, longer hours for doctors’ surgeries and provisions for social distancing among outdoor diners at restaurants.

The more flexible approach will allow essential businesses and service providers to operate more responsively to the City’s changing needs in line with the latest advice from the NSW Government.

This will enable:

  • more flexible delivery times and truck movements at supermarkets 
  • doctors’ surgeries to stay open longer
  • restrictions on the use of footpaths to be eased for food premises to help patrons practise effective social distancing

Lord Mayor of Newcastle Nuatali Nelmes said the sensible approach complements the Community and Economic Resilience package currently under development by City of Newcastle staff.

“One of the ways we can help ease pressures right now is to be pragmatic in our approach to regulation in line with the latest advice from the NSW Government,” Councillor Nelmes said.

“Supermarkets struggling to meet unprecedented demand can increase the number of daily deliveries, and their delivery trucks can arrive later or earlier than usual to help ensure shelves remain stocked. We only ask that businesses let their neighbours know about the changes and likewise ask for understanding from nearby residents.  

“Medical practices will be able to stay open longer or set up flexible testing arrangements which will ease the demand on hospitals and support our wonderful health system and frontline medicos.

“Restaurateurs will enjoy more flexibility with outdoor dining options for safe social distancing in line with Government directives as we continue to use levers at our disposal to facilitate community and economic resilience.”

Meanwhile, City of Newcastle continues to work with government agencies to limit the spread of the virus.

Accordingly, a decision has been made to close Fort Scratchley until further notice in order prioritise the wellbeing of visitors and volunteers from the Fort Scratchley Historical Society who run the facility.

The closure is consistent with advice from Museums & Galleries of NSW encouraging all volunteer-run museums and galleries to close and for all volunteer support programs to be suspended temporarily.

City of Newcastle’s broader volunteer services have also been suspended temporarily.

For further information on City of Newcastle’s response to COVID-19 please visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/COVID-19