Browsing: COVID-19

EVERY cloud has a silver lining – just ask Lincraft Mornington assistant store manager Dianne Ansell. Demand for material to make face masks in the fight against COVID-19 is so strong that customers have flocked to the store at the Peninsula Home lifestyle centre all day. “We’ve been flat out with people buying 100 per cent cotton and a polyester mix to make the masks and the elastic to tie them on,” she said. “There’s a long queue winding its way down the aisles almost to the back of the store. “We haven’t seen sales like this since we opened…

A SIX-MONTH extension of the JobKeeper subsidy is “absolutely imperative for the survival of coach tour companies – a vital part of the Mornington Peninsula’s tourism industry”. Chris O’Shannessy, of O’Shannessy’s Quality Tours, based at Rye, said the tourism industry was “not alone in bearing the brunt of the economic crisis this pandemic has caused. But I would say without a doubt it is, along with the hospitality industry, one of the hardest hit. “Our two industries work hand in glove in support of each other.” Mr O’Shannessy said coach touring brought visitors to small, out-of-the-way towns, provided revenue for…

COMPENSATION for tourism accommodation operators who have suffered cancellations due to the lockdown of metropolitan COVID hotspots has been welcomed. A $5 million fund for regional businesses such as motels, caravan parks and holiday home operators from the state government will help cover lost revenue as a result of cancelled bookings. The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said: “I want to thank the Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula for ensuring Mornington Peninsula tourism businesses are included in the regional accommodation support fund. “We know our tourism businesses are struggling at the moment and we appreciate all the support…

Mornington Peninsula Total cases: 72 – Active cases: 8 – New cases today: 0 One new case yesterday, no new cases today on the Mornington Peninsula. A Somers health expert has added her voice to calls the Mornington Peninsula should be excluded from the Greater Melbourne lockdown area to help beat COVID-19. On the day compulsory mask wearing is announced, we take a light-hearted look at Victoria’s rich heritage of mask wearing. Key facts from today’s Victorian COVID-19 update: Victoria has recorded 363 new cases of coronavirus since yesterday, with the total number of cases now at 5696. The overall total has increased by 343, after…

A SOMERS health expert has added her voice to calls the Mornington Peninsula should be excluded from the Greater Melbourne lockdown area to help beat COVID-19. “We need a checkpoint as they have at the border between Victoria and New South Wales to keep people out and stop the virus spreading,” virologist Sue King said. “The state government needs to put a stop to it.” Ms King is backing the mayor Cr Sam Hearn’s demand that the peninsula be designated a regional area so visitors simply cannot flock in from other suburbs and potentially bring infections with them (“Outsiders stay…

The news of mandatory mask wearing has taken me completely by surprise. Knowing that I’ll be fined $200 for not wearing a mask after Wednesday has made me regret continuing to panic buy toilet paper when everybody else was probably panic buying face masks. How could I have got panic buying so wrong? Now masks are going to be compulsory, the chances of getting one of those official-looking blue ones that Anthony Edwards used to wear on ‘ER’ are slim to none. Which means I’ll need to make my own. Luckily, I am incredibly practical by nature and willing to…

The Mornington Peninsula has had no confirmed new cases of Coronavirus in the last 24 hours as the state’s numbers soared by an all-time high number of 428 cases. The peninsula has had a total of 71 cases, and seven are still active. In his daily press conference, Premier Daniel Andrews singled out a group from Coburg that had travelled a 200 kilometre round trip to visit Rye. He made the point the group set a “poor example” during restrictions. The City of Frankston had an increase of one case in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 47…

After an increase of just three cases in ten weeks, the Mornington Peninsula has now had eight new cases in a week. And as the state’s total climbs dramatically higher, it seems the peninsula may not be immune from the second wave. Only last week, the Mornington Peninsula Shire and organisations like the Committee for the Mornington Peninsula were lamenting being bundled into the metropolitan Melbourne return to level three restrictions, arguing that the peninsula was not part of metro Melbourne. Who could blame them? Virus free, and having to suffer the economic and social restrictions of metro Melbourne seemed…

THE Telstra store at Mornington Central shopping centre was temporarily closed today (Thursday 16 July) after a staff member contracted coronavirus. Spokesperson Matt Smithson told The News: “A staff member at one of our licensee stores, who worked last Friday, has tested positive to COVID-19.” Mr Smithson said the staff member did not attend the store again before calling in to report a positive diagnosis last night (Wednesday 15 July). Staff members were being tested and have been provided help under the company’s Employment Assistance program. Mr Smithson said: “The store is currently being deep-cleaned over the next 48 hours…

THE Mornington Peninsula should be excluded from the metropolitan “lockdown” areas to prevent infected outsiders coming in, the mayor Cr Sam Hearn said last week. He fears residents from hard-hit areas of inner-Melbourne may interpret the “one-region” status as a “reason to travel to the peninsula and inadvertently put our local community health containment at risk”. Cr Hearn was speaking after the state government reintroduced stage three COVID-19 restrictions and included the peninsula as part of the Greater Melbourne urban area. Television news bulletins on Thursday showed hordes of visitors making the most of the warm weather in peninsula towns…

POLICE checked and cleared all passengers for travel on the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry after stage three coronavirus restrictions came into force on Thursday 9 July. The ferry is classed as an essential service, linking the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas. Although the Mornington Peninsula is subject to the restrictions Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula are not within the Melbourne metropolitan area. “During the next six weeks we expect that the only travellers on our service will be people that have a need to travel for one of the three permitted reasons,” Searoad Ferries’ operations general manager Wes Oswin said. “The…

THE impact of tougher COVID-19 restrictions is “having a dire impact” on  Mornington Peninsula businesses”. The doomsday scenario described by the mayor Cr Sam Hearn followed the state government’s inclusion of the shire in the greater Melbourne lockdown area. Cr Hearn said the peninsula had lost up to 6000 jobs, seen a 21 per cent drop in gross regional product (compared with 6.9 per cent for Australia) and an 11 per cent fall in job prospects. Statistics released over the weekend show that Victoria and New South Wales have only one job vacancy for every 10 people registered as unemployed.…

IN Mid-May Frankston had recorded the third highest number of fines, 297, for breaking COVID-19 restrictions which came into force in mid-March. Only Melbourne, 590, and Greater Dandenong, 333, had a higher number of fines. Police on the Mornington Peninsula issued 203 fines in the same time frame, nearby Casey 249 and Kingston 113. The peninsula’s figures are sure to have grown since then with police handing the occupant of a house at St Andrews Beach, a $1652 fine on Sunday 28 June. Rye police said up to 18 guests were mingling at the Tiberius Road house when, acting on…

BOTH state and federal governments are being asked to launch a life raft to ease economic and social hardship on the Mornington Peninsula in the wake of the coronavirus emergency. The shire’s $320 million recovery wish list ranges from housing for the homeless to a technology park. Estimated costs are just as variable, with the homeless “package” put at $2.5 million, a plan to use recycled water coming in at $27.3m and road safety $130m. In its approach to both governments the shire says the Mornington Peninsula has “suffered one of the heaviest hits to employment in the state”, with…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire libraries at Mornington, Rosebud, Somerville and Hastings are open but with controls on numbers allowed inside after COVID-19 restrictions were eased on Monday (22 June). Libraries will continue to run at reduced hours until 4 July when hours are expected to return to normal. All public programs, including Storytime, will continue online “for the time being”. Safety measures are in place with a concierge at the door to track numbers and to record visitors’ details. Hand sanitiser will be available and extra cleaning of all high-touch surfaces, computers and self-serve checkouts, will be done. The Mobile Library…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire services will gradually reopen during June with further easing of coronavirus restrictions. The shire is following state government guidance by taking a staged approach with “necessary modifications … to keep our community safe and the pandemic curve flat”. Services will operate with shorter opening hours and limits on numbers and time spent at the service. The shire says its priority is to keep the community safe, and only services that can maintain physical distancing guidelines and numbers limits will open “at this stage”. Updates about further changes to shire services will follow the state government’s announcement of…

TEN five-person teams are out disinfecting “communal touch points” throughout the Mornington Peninsula to lessen the spread of COVID-19. The teams are being paid for by the state government through Citywide, a “physical services company” and work in conjunction with the shire’s Clean Team. The teams are cleaning public seating, bike hoops, playground equipment, bins, pedestrian signal buttons, handrails, street furniture and bus shelters. “This was a quick turnaround initiative of the government to support our community in feeling safe and secure in public and provide some additional support to council and business as restrictions are eased,” the mayor Cr…

IT seemed as though the Mornington Peninsula became active again last Tuesday with the state government further easing COVID-19 restrictions. Playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor gym equipment and park equipment, such as furniture and barbecues, were reopened for up to 10 people, with the number expanding to 20 from 11.59pm on Sunday. Libraries, youth centres and other community facilities were given the go ahead to open with 20 people in a single area that complies with social distancing rules; men’s sheds and arts and crafts classes can resume; entertainment and cultural venues, such as galleries, museums, drive-in cinemas and historic sites…

DANCING schools say authorities determining rules for their reopening on Monday 22 June are out of step with the industry. More than 170 dance schools are lobbying the Premier Daniel Andrews to let them have a say in regulations being drafted by the Department of Health and Human Services which they say is based on recommendations from the Australian Institute of Sport. Australian Academy of Dance director Mike Harrison-Lamond said dance studio owners said the AIS was “not our governing body, nor do they have an understanding of our industry”. He said requiring four square metres a person, 20 people…

EARLY financial modelling suggests Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s non-rate income could be down $6-$12 million this year depending on the duration of the COVID-19 restrictions. To help ease the shire’s financial pain, the mayor Cr Sam Hearn has opted to take a 20 per cent cut in his $90,000-plus allowance. CEO John Baker has also said he will take a pay cut. Cr Hearn said the shire was “continuing to monitor and make prudent budgetary decisions in response to the impacts” of the pandemic. “We are committed to leading from the top in managing the financial challenges of this crisis,”…

PROPERTY manager Nichols Crowder is lobbying Frankston and Mornington Peninsula councils to help landlords and tenants by deferring property rates and dropping marketing levies. Director Michael Crowder says councils, banks, utilities, insurers and governments “should be waiving or freezing payments – interest free – in line with the mandatory code-of-conduct”. “In this way the costs a [landlord] saves can be passed on directly to their tenants.” Mr Crowder wrote to the councils asking them to waive the marketing and promotional fund levy for commercial businesses. Mornington Peninsula Shire had not responded by Friday 1 May, but Frankston Council refused to…

A CHANGE in focus is allowing tasty and nutritious meals to be prepared for struggling families on the Mornington Peninsula through the COVID-19 shutdown. This has come about by having kitchen staff at the Somers Residential School Camp cook 350 meals a week for needy families in the district, rather than children who are usually staying at the now-closed camp. The meals are delivered to nominated schools and picked up by parents doing it tough for their evening meals. Camp principal Mark Warner said a “bright idea” from staffer Coralie Gibson to use the idle camp kitchen for community meals…

MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire staff have reportedly been spared the full impact of redundancy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporate services director Mark Brady said none of the shire’s 1200 staff had been affected and there had been “no formal stand downs”. The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said: “We have made a strong commitment to share the pain. Our staff are mostly local people and keeping them on is beneficial to our community.” However, staff in neighbouring municipalities have not been so fortunate – some having been laid off without assistance. Liberal Senator for Victoria David Van said he had been…

BATA Shoes in Mornington is offering a free pair of $50 work shoes to aged care and health care workers during May. The company’s graphic design and marketing manager Brad Rayson said the offer was influenced by the valuable role these workers are playing during the current COVID-19 pandemic. “The sign went up [outside the factory] today and we are starting to get lots of calls,” he said, Thursday 7 May. “To take advantage of the offer workers can come in and flash their employer ID.” First published in the Mornington News – 12 May 2020

WITH fingers crossed, motorists are lining up to be tested for coronavirus on the mezzanine level at Bayside Shopping Centre, Frankston. Melbourne Pathology doctors and nurses conducted scores of drive-through tests as the state government ramps up specific testing for COVID-19. Testing is available at the Beach Street building 9am-5pm daily. Up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested over the next two weeks to better understand how the virus spreads in the community and help pave the way for the potential easing of restrictions. Those tested will be contacted by phone call or SMS to notify them of their results…

By Muriel Cooper* “Weird” is a common way of describing our circumstances during the coronavirus lockdown. With this “weirdness” can come a sense of being adrift, not tethered to anything, a sense of unreality; being disconnected. Our ancestors, European or Indigenous, often had to endure long periods of isolation on extended sea voyages or overland treks, and we could do worse than follow their example. How did they remain grounded? Here are a few ways in which I think they kept their sense of place and purpose: They were stoic; they did not expect life to be easy. They expected…

Mornington Community Information and Support Centre, Southern Peninsula Community Support, Information Centre and Western Port Community Support and Community Support Frankston will receive more than $500,000 from the federal government’s new Community Support Package. “This is such a different time with so many moving and changing challenges for emergency relief charities like ours, we have lost some important income streams just when they are most needed,” Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre CEO Jeremy Maxwell said Stuart Davis-Meehan of the Mornington Community Information and Support Centre said the extra money would “enable us to expand the range of support…

AN assessment is being made of the financial hardship and wider effects COVID-19 is having on businesses on the Mornington Peninsula. Mornington Peninsula Shire acknowledges many businesses are “doing it tough” and says it will use the data to help with the “recovery process”. The move comes after the shire helped set up a system to deliver “care packages” to households throughout the peninsula. Cr Simon Brooks says statistics for casual workers on the peninsula “linked to hospitality and tourism who may have lost their jobs” could be given to state and federal politicians. “These are typically, but not always,…

IN a year typically made up of happy memories, lasting friendships and, yes, study, the struggle towards the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) is far from normal in the time of COVID-19. Rosebud Secondary College year 12 student Zoe Dellaportas, 17 this week, is coping like as best she can. “The hardest part is staying motivated,” she said of her studies at home. “It’s a matter of maintaining structure.” Luckily, her older sister Alex has been able to help. “She’s set alarms on my phone for the start and end of periods which has been a big help.” Years 11…

MOST of Victoria’s 79 councils want to cancel the elections scheduled to be held in October. Mornington Peninsula Shire, while not having a specific point of view, says “primary considerations” should be the community’s health and safety as well as “upholding the core principles of local democracy”. The Municipal Association of Victoria has told the state government that the council’s favour deferring the elections until next year. The government is expected to decide in the next few weeks to go ahead or abandon the council elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “A delay should be considered if over the coming…