NSW Government has directed that the state proceed to a comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services.

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Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open.

School closures remain under consideration but likely.

Localised lockdowns of high risk suburbs or red zones may also come into effect.

NSW Health advise that there were 533 confirmed cases in NSW, with eight current in the Hunter New England Health district as at 22 March, bringing the district total to 30.

There were 1098 confirmed cases across Australia with the rate increasing.

To reduce the rate, the Australian, State and MidCoast Council continue to introduce additional measures and support services.

These include stopping all non-essential travel, and complying with social distancing and hygiene directions.

Essential travel includes travel to work, to the shops to buy necessities, compassionate and/or medical travel and for emergencies.

Any citizens returning from overseas must go into a 14 day home quarantine without exception.

These measures are impacting Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest and local surrounding communities.

Local supermarkets, bottle shops, pharmacies and petrol stations remain open with clear advice to everyone to stop panic buying and to use cards over cash.

Coles has a “community hour” running between 7 – 8am for the elderly and disabled.

Local motels and hairdressers remain open.

Newsagents are open, home delivering papers and magazines.

The Port Stephens Ferry Service is running, with lower passenger limits so book in advance.

Hawks Nest Meals on Wheels remains committed to feeding those in need and is happy for volunteers to assist with increased demand; contact 02 4997 0800.

Local caravan parks remain open with flexible booking options and improved cleaning practices.

Local pools remain open subject to council checks.

Under government direction, clubs, pubs, and restaurants are all closed with most offering pick up and/or take away.

Local church services will cease until further notice.

The Tea Gardens Visitor Information Centre, the Community Technology Centre, Galleries in the Garden, and Hawks Nest Art Gallery are closed.

The local Lions Clubs has suspended all group activities pending further notice.

Local sports have also been suspended, including Surf Life Saving Club activities and the Tea Gardens Bowls competitions.

Registrations for local soccer remain open with all games on hold until review at the end of April.

Resident social media groups are sharing information from trusted Australian Government sources, as well as offering direct help and care to people who have been isolated or unable to access essential goods and services.

Stay safe, informed and connected and if you are concerned about your symptoms, call your local doctor or call the Health Direct Line on 1800 022 222.

If you require non-medical information about COVID-19, call 1800 020 080.


By Sandra MURRAY

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