Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Douglas Shire Council receives regular updates from the Queensland and Australian governments and will respond as required or directed by appropriate health authorities.

Support for impacted businesses

Financial assistance, eligibility & timing for the new government support for Australian businesses.

Support for impacted individuals

Information & services to help you if you’re affected or looking for more details.

Changes to Council Events, Programs & Initiatives

Council events & programs impacted by new government regulations.

Essential Services

Plans are in place to ensure the continued supply of critical services.

Residents & travellers

Council is prepared for any potential impacts of the COVID-19 virus and is taking a calm and precautionary approach to slowing the transmission of COVID-19.

Queensland Health provides timely health advice and information. Anyone with concerns can call 13 HEALTH or take the COVID-19 coronavirus quiz.

Current cases - Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service area

There are 28 confirmed positive coronavirus cases in the Cairns region*, an increase of one from the previous day (updated 3rd April).

Tropical Public Health Services is following up anyone who has had close contact with the patients.

Information on the current coronavirus status is provided by State and Federal health authorities.

Local information is also available on here.

*Information for the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service area, which includes Douglas Shire, Cairns, the Tablelands, Tully, Chillagoe, Georgetown and Croydon.

Interest freeze on rates notices

Douglas Shire Council will provide immediate relief to ratepayers by freezing interest on rates and working on further relief packages after the 2020 Local Government Elections.

What does this mean? No further interest will accrue on any rates and water account balances within assessments until further notice.

Please call 4099 9444 to speak to our friendly staff about your individual circumstances.

Visitor travel restrictions on Daintree Ferry

Due to the Federal Government’s advice against non-essential travel, the Douglas Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) is restricting access at the Daintree Ferry to local residents and essential services only. More information here.

Boating & Fishing

Boaties can still take their boats out locally to fish for food or travel for essential reasons.

Public gatherings such as fishing are limited to 2 people (other than your direct household). If you do choose to go fishing, stay close to home, keep a distance of 1.5 m from others and practise good hygiene, especially when fuelling up and at boat ramps.

State Government boat ramps will remain open to boaties. Boaties should also be mindful of hygiene when putting boats in the water at public facilities.

At this point in time, QBFP officers are still patrolling and fishing rules remain in place. QBFP are avoiding close contact, conducting interviews and discussions on open deck, cleaning their hands frequently and have sanitisers on all vessels and cleaning all internal components of vessels. If anything changes, we will be sure to let you know, but for now, do your part to slow the spread.

This advice is current as of 31 March 2020 and may change in response to new or amended CHO Health Directions and the government’s response to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Stay up-to-date with accurate, reliable information by visiting www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus

Queensland Health FAQ’s

Businesses

Local Support & Information

Council is acutely aware of the challenges faced by businesses in our Shire and will work with all levels of government, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree and the Douglas Chamber of Commerce to look at ways to support our business sector.

Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD)

TPDD will be sending out member updates to share information and support mechanisms that are being developed by agencies across Australia to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Douglas Chamber of Commerce

Douglas Chamber of Commerce will be updating their website with helpful information and support available for small businesses.

Click Here

Takeaway food standards & licensing

Council supports local food businesses looking for alternative ways to continue operating during the current restrictions on businesses, as well as providing an important service to the community in social isolation.

If you have a current low, medium or high risk Food Business Licence you are permitted to provide takeaway and/or delivery options to customers without any changes to your Licence, however, you must apply the following additional restrictions imposed by the Queensland Government under the public health emergency declaration:

  • Social distancing, including keeping 1.5 metres between people must be accommodated, implemented and monitored by employees or contractors of the retail food service provider;
  • Gathering for the purposes of ordering or collecting must not exceed one person per 4 square metres;
  • The retail food service provider may only operate to the extent they are not promoting or facilitating persons consuming takeaway food or drink on or adjacent to their premises. For example, tables and chairs should be removed and all reasonable steps taken by the retail food service to direct persons from gathering to consume takeaway food or drink on or adjacent to, the relevant premise.

Please also ensure that measures are in place to continue providing safe and suitable food to your customers, including:

  • Use food grade takeaway containers, which are stored in a manner to prevent contamination
  • Maintain potentially hazardous food at the appropriate temperature prior to collection by takeaway customers
  • Use food delivery vehicles that are suitable to protect food and able to be effectively cleaned and, if necessary, sanitised
  • Transport packaged food in insulated containers that:
    • maintain hot food above 65° Celcius and cold food below 5° Celcius; and
    • can be easily cleaned and sanitised between delivery runs

Further information on COVID -19 and food safety can be found on the Food Standards Australia website.

If you are considering any alternative to take-away/delivery, or you have a Minor Food Preparation licence and wish to continue providing food to customers, please contact Council on 4099 9444 to speak with an Environmental Health Officer.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Workplace Risk Management

It doesn’t matter if you’re a worker or someone who is responsible for workers, you must identify and manage work health and safety risks including the exposure to COVID-19. Businesses should also plan to respond to cases of COVID-19 at work in line with advice provided by Queensland Health.

Workplace Risk Resouces Here

Queensland Government

Australian Government

  • Information on current restrictions, financial assistance and support for all businesses is available at business.gov.au.

Council events, programs & initiatives

As a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of COVID-19 within the community, Council would like to advise the following cancellation and changes to regular events, programs and initiatives, effective immediately.

Active8 Free Fitness Program

Council is helping Douglas Shire locals keep fit and stay active in isolation with three popular Active8 Free Fitness classes relaunching online as Active8 LIVE.

Available via online meeting service Zoom, participants can join in from the comfort of their own home for Tai Chi, Just Start Fitness or a dance fitness class similar to Zumba.

Active8 LIVE schedule & instructions

All in-person Active8 classes have been cancelled in line with the Federal Government’s recent advice on social distancing.

For any questions, please contact Council’s Sport and Recreation Officer Renee Ker on 4099 9419

Visit the Active8 Free Fitness Program page here

Council has also asked local sporting clubs to put systems in place and be proactive in their approach. Read clubs update here. 

Anzac Day

RSL Queensland has advised its Sub Branches to cancel ANZAC Day commemorations in light of the emerging COVID-19 situation.

RSL Mossman Sub Branch is recommending that residents tune into the national dawn service on television or radio on April 25.

Residents are welcomed to lay wreaths at Port Douglas, Mossman and Cow Bay cenotaphs throughout the day.

RSL Queensland calls on Australians to honour the service of our Defence forces, past and present, by standing at the end of their driveways to observe a minute’s silence at 6am this ANZAC Day.

Council will follow flag raising protocol on ANZAC Day.

Events at Douglas Libraries

Mossman Library and Port Douglas Library are closed until further notice and the following events have been cancelled:

  • Baby Rhyme Time
  • Storytime
  • Tech-Savvy Senior Workshops
  • Lego & K’Nex
  • Music & Song

Council has extended borrowing limits to 40 items for eight weeks to help residents keep entertained through any COVID-19 isolation.

Residents have until Wednesday afternoon to come into the library to borrow items and Council would like to encourage using the after-hours return chute to return items.

In the meantime, Council has closed computer access and other activities.

Council is reminding residents that e-services such as audio books, music, magazines and more are available through the Rural Libraries QLD at the Libraries page on Council’s website.

Council is also looking at ways to continue lending items without face-to-face contact.

Customers who wish to keep updated about library facilities are encouraged to contact Douglas Libraries and sign up for their newsletter.

Library staff will also be looking at offering online craft activities and story time sessions.

Events at Mossman Pool

All classes and lessons at the Mossman Pool have been cancelled and the Pool is closed until further notice.

For any enquiries, please call 0417 768 266.

Port Douglas Carnivale 2020

Port Douglas Carnivale 2020 has been postponed in line with recommendations from the Federal Government on non-essential mass gatherings.

Douglas Shire Council will investigate the possibility of holding aspects of the festival, originally scheduled for May this year, as part of its economic recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic at a future date.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation, Council will continually monitor the latest health advice and review the circumstances before a public announcement about a future date.

Port Douglas Markets

The Port Douglas Markets have been cancelled until further notice.

Please contact Council’s Market Coordinator at 0459 999 078 if you have any questions.

You can stay updated at Council’s website and Facebook page.

Council encourages everyone to visit QLD Health’s website for the most up-to-date information.

Weddings, Funerals and Other Services

The National Cabinet agreed to new and enhanced social distance measures, building on the existing measures that are in place.

There are new restrictions apply to:

  • Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • Local government non-essential facilities and services (such as libraries and pools).
  • Community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs).
  • Places of worship, weddings and funerals

Weddings with a maximum attendance of no more than 5 people and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies.

Funerals attended by a maximum of no more than 10 people and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies.

View Prime Minister's Statement Here

Bookings at Council Venues

At this stage, Council will refund bookings for its venues up until 30 June, 2020.

Staff will continue to review the situation and possibly extend that date, depending on the expert health advice.

Venues include the following:

Indoor venues:

  • Port Douglas Community Hall (including Space Port Meeting Room & all Space Port Desks.)
  • Mossman Community Hall
  • Daintree Hall

Parks:

  • Rex Smeal Park
  • George Davis Park
  • Little Cove
  • Mossman Show Grounds
  • Port Douglas Sports Complex
  • Reynolds Park

Please contact enquiries@douglas.qld.gov.au or call 4099 9444 if you have any questions.

Essential Services

Council’s management team has plans in place to ensure the continued supply of critical services such as water, wastewater and waste collection.

Council is closely monitoring the situation and senior management is meeting regularly to review business operations and service delivery. Staff are also trialling working from home and practicing other social distancing behaviours to prepare for any outbreak.

The Douglas Local Disaster Management Group is liaising with core members, advisors and the District Disaster Management Group.

There have been some changes to a number of services in the Douglas Shire, as follows:

Bloomfield Track

The Bloomfield Track is closed at Emmagen Creek, north of Cape Tribulation.

A road block was placed there by the State Government to protect indigenous communities from the COVID-19 virus.

Queensland Police Officers are also stationed on the Mulligan Highway at Mt Carbine to provide the travelling public with information about access to the Cape. Please direct any enquiries to the Queensland Police.

The CREB Track is also closed.

Council Customer Service

Walk-in customer service at the Mossman administration building and Port Douglas Community Hall has closed until further notice.

Council would like to encourage customers to report issues or ask questions via:

Daintree Ferry

Visitor travel restrictions on Daintree Ferry

Due to the Federal Government’s advice against non-essential travel, the Douglas Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) is restricting access at the Daintree Ferry to local residents and essential services only.

Council will work closely with local police and the ferry contractor to implement the new measures at the Daintree River crossing.

All occupants of the vehicle will be required to provide proof of their residential address, drivers licence, local ferry card or be a regular user who can be identified by the ferry contractor.

Essential services includes:

  • Freight
  • Trades and Construction
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Emergency workers
  • Those travelling to and from work
  • Court orders including family court
  • Compassionate grounds
  • Medical treatment

‘Local resident’ is defined as anyone who lives in Douglas Shire. Normal fees apply.

The new measures are a precautionary response to reduce the risk of COVID-19 within the community.

The restrictions will be active until further notice. For any enquiries, please contact Gaye Scott at 0418 793 009 or Gaye.Scott@douglas.qld.gov.au 

Minimize cash handling

Douglas Shire Council is encouraging residents and visitors to limit handling money at the Daintree Ferry crossing where possible. This is part of Council’s precautionary approach to slowing the transmission of COVID-19 in Douglas Shire.

Travellers are encouraged to use EFTPOS facilities at the ticket booths. Cash will still be accepted.

Council has also waived ferry fees for tourist operators.

Thank you for your co-operation. Stay updated about how COVID-19 is impacting Council operations at this page and Council’s Facebook page.

For latest health advice, visit QLD Health’s website.

Douglas Libraries

Mossman Library and Port Douglas Library are closed until further notice.

Council has extended borrowing limits to 40 items for eight weeks to help residents keep entertained through any COVID-19 isolation. We are reminding residents that e-services such as audio books, music, magazines and more are available through the Rural Libraries QLD at the Libraries page on Council’s website.

Please follow the Douglas Libraries Facebook Page for updates.

Council is also looking at ways to continue lending items without face-to-face contact. Customers who wish to keep updated about library facilities are encouraged to contact Douglas Libraries at Libraries@douglas.qld.gov.au or  4099 9496 and sign up for their newsletter. Library staff will also be looking at offering online craft activities and story time sessions.

A reminder that the following programs are also cancelled:

  • Baby Rhyme Time
  • Storytime
  • Tech-Savvy Senior Workshops
  • Lego & K’Nex
  • Music & Song

Four Mile Beach

Surf Life Saving Queensland has moved all volunteer beach patrols and lifeguard services to surveillance patrols at Four Mile Beach.

The change will mean lifesavers and lifeguards will still be ready to respond, however to avoid people congregating in close proximity there will be no red and yellow flagged designated  swimming areas.

Read more here

Mossman Nursery

The Mossman Nursery is closed until further notice.

Mossman Pool & Caravan Park

The Mossman Pool is closed until further notice and all classes and lessons have been cancelled.

The Caravan Park is closed to new visitors until further notice.

For any enquiries, please call 0417 768 266.

Parks & Playgrounds

Following the Prime Minister’s further restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Council is discouraging people from using the Shire’s public recreational areas.

This applies to:

  • Public BBQ areas
  • Exercise equipment
  • Pump tracks
  • Skate Parks
  • Playgrounds

Surf Life Saving Queensland have moved volunteer beach patrols and lifeguard services to surveillance patrols at Four Mile Beach.

The change will mean lifeguards will still be ready to respond, however to avoid people congregating in close proximity, there will be no red and yellow flagged designated swimming areas.

People using all beaches in Douglas Shire must adhere to social distancing measures.

Rex Smeal Park

The car park at Rex Smeal Park is closed until further notice.

All parks remain open, but users must adhere to social distancing measures.

Public Toilets

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Council will be closing some public toilet facilities. These include:

  • Mill Street toilets (Near Mossman Library)
  • Rotary Park, Mossman (toilets near Foxton Bridge)
  • Rotary Park at Grant Street, Port Douglas
  • Hutchings Park Port Douglas
  • Thornton Beach Café – Public Toilets closed
  • Wonga Beach Caravan Park Toilets for residents only

The Daintree National Park Day Use Areas, north of the Daintree River, will have their toilet blocks partially closed because of reduced use and to minimise daily sanitization requirements. This is also being done to minimise the potential for staff to be exposed took COVID-19 when cleaning the toilets.

The details of the partial closures as follows:

  • Jindalba DUA – close male and female toilet and leave only handicap toilet open
  • Dubuji DUA –  close male and female toilet and leave only handicap toilet open
  • Avalon Street –  close male and female toilet and leave only handicap toilet open
  • Kulki DUA –  close male toilets and leave female open – this has handicap toilet within.

The toilets that are remaining open will continue to be cleaned and sanitised by Daintree North QPWS Rangers

Scrap Shack at Killaloe Transfer Station

The Scrap Shack is temporarily closed, this applies to both drop offs and collections.

All other activities at the Killaloe Waste Transfer Station will continue to operate as normal.

(e.g. general waste and recycling public drop offs are permitted.)

Wastewater services | Flush wisely - Keep it to the three P's: Pee, Poop & Paper

Don’t be a LOOnatic – Flush wisely!

Hoarding and scarcity of toilet paper emerged almost as a joke weeks ago but as it runs out, people may turn to poor substitutes. Flush wisely and keep it to three P’s: Pee, Poo and Paper!

Anything else — including wipes — is bad news for the pipes and pumps that carry sewage from your home to our wastewater treatment facilities, where professionals are working 24/7 to clean and treat what is flushed.

Even those products marked “flushable” contribute to blocking the sewerage system.

Transfer Stations

In line with the Chief Health Officers direction on home confinement and permitted reasons for leaving home, transfer stations in Douglas Shire are closing to residents from Saturday (April 4) until further notice.

People who do not receive a waste collection service at their property will be allowed to dispose of bagged food/household waste only at Killaloe, Cow Bay and Daintree stations. Newell Beach Transfer Station will close until further notice.

Council’s regular kerbside wheelie bin service will continue as per usual. Commercial customers can continue to use Killaloe Transfer Station. More information here. 

Council Response

Below you’ll find a list of steps Council has taken regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Council has Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) to ensure the continued supply of critical services such as water, wastewater and waste collection.
  • Staff will be trialling working from home and other working patterns that promote social distancing in preparation for a potential local outbreak.
  • Council has invested in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and will be placing educational symptom posters, as well as touch-free sanitizers at key council facilities.
  • Council has raised awareness to all staff in line with the latest national advice.
  • The Douglas Local Disaster Management Group is liaising with core members, advisors and the District Disaster Management Group.
  • Residents and visitors are encouraged to practice good hygiene by hand washing, covering sneezes and staying home if you are sick.

Council is taking a calm and precautionary approach to slowing the transmission of COVID-19 – please refer to the resources available online at www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus.

Media Releases

March

April

By working closely with Queensland Health, Council is also actively raising awareness and sharing information to key agencies and the community.

Local Government Elections 2020

The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) is implementing a range of extra measures for the 2020 local government elections to make sure that a safe environment is provided to Queenslanders voting in the elections.

This includes sourcing additional supplies of hand sanitiser for use by voters at polling booths. Voters are also encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil with them to vote as an additional hygiene precaution.

For more information, visit: https://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/media