Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts to Victoria’s Parks
Public Safety Measures
In line with the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Parks Victoria has implemented new public safety measures to protect visitors, volunteers, customers and staff in response to the pandemic coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Effective from today, following instruction from the Chief Health Officer on ensuring that no public gatherings occur with more than 500 people outdoors or 100 people indoors, Parks Victoria is making changes to some visitor sites until further notice. These changes include the closure of sites that receive high visitor numbers. Many other parks have low visitor numbers and at this stage will not be affected, provided visitors take social distancing precautions.
The affected sites are:
- The Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre and lookoutswill be closed to visitors immediately. The carpark and toilets at the Visitor Centre will remain open. Access to the Great Ocean Road and other visitor attractions are currently unaffected.
- 1000 Steps, the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden (formerly known as the National Rhododendron Garden) and the William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenong Ranges National Park will be closed until further notice.
- The penguin viewing platform at St Kilda Pierhas been closed until further notice. Fencing is now in place along the breakwater preventing access to the penguin viewing platform. The pier remains open.
- Mackenzie Falls in the Grampians National Parkwill be closed for the duration of term two school holiday period (28 March – 13 April 2020).
- Tours in the Buchan Cavesat the Buchan Caves Reserve and tours of the State Coal Mine have been suspended until further notice to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers. The Buchan Caves Reserve and campsite remains open.
- The historic mansion at Werribee(excluding the hotel) will be closed to visitors, but the gardens will remain open.
Parks Victoria’s public programs, including Ranger-led school excursions and events will be postponed for the period from Tuesday 17 March until further notice. This includes school excursions, Junior Rangers activities, welcome walks, guided tours, citizen science and Parks Victoria led volunteer programs. Parks Victoria is working with organisers of events being held in locations across the estate to ensure limits on gatherings are upheld.
These steps are being taken as a public health precaution in support of measures to contain coronavirus (COVID-19), especially for those in the community who are most vulnerable.
For more information on park closures and affected visitor sites visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/COVID19
The vast majority of the remainder of parks will remain open. While we encourage everyone to continue to visit, we ask that you put your health and the health of others first. It is recommended ‘social distancing’ be practiced and those with flu-like symptoms follow the advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and remain at home.
Visit www.parks.vic.gov.au for information on what else there is to see and do in Parks Victoria’s estate.
This is a rapidly changing situation. It is possible there will be further changes to park closures, pending advice from health authorities. Parks Victoria will continue to follow Government advice and implement changes as necessary and we will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
Parks Victoria has arrangements in place to ensure business continuity, this includes ongoing urgent recovery efforts in bushfire affected parks, essential maintenance and visitor services as well as firefighting. It’s important to note that other parks may be closed for different reasons, such as bushfire impacts or park management work. Don’t forget to check Parks Victoria’s website for any change of conditions for the park you plan to visit.
For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the Department of Health and Human Services website which features regularly updated information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19)- https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19
These are unprecedented and challenging times, and it’s important for us to all come together and do our bit to implement the advice of health officials and authorities to ensure we keep each other safe. Stay safe.
PLEASE ensure all relevant staff and volunteers are notified as to the contents of this email.