Coronavirus disease (COVID19) update

Update 23 March 2020


Surf Coast Shire Council is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and making preparations for the potential challenges ahead.

coronavirus tile for webThe Department of Health and Human Services is the lead Victorian agency dealing with the coronavirus disease. We are encouraging people to stay informed directly with DHHS via or the 24 hour hotline 1800 675 398.

Council is preparing for future changes to the situation. Changes to Council services at this time are listed below.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide community updates as changes occur.

Changes to Council services and facilities

Council is reviewing and adjusting provision of services and events in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we are reviewing public-facing roles and Council-run events with a view to supporting health authorities as they seek to limit spread of the virus.

Changes to services and events include:

  • Surf Coast Shire Council’s kindergartens, occasional care and family day care services are continuing to operate following the instruction issued by the Victorian Department of Education and Training on Monday afternoon. Council contacted families on Monday to confirm that kindergarten and occasional care services will continue until Friday 27 March, which marks the start of the two-week term holidays. Council runs kindergartens in Lorne, Anglesea, Winchelsea, Jan Juc and two in Torquay.
  • All Council waste facilities will be cashless from Friday 20 March. This includes Anglesea, Lorne and Winchelsea transfer stations. Using debit and credit cards instead of cash and making use of online and self-serve transactions can help reduce the risk of infection and slow the spread of coronavirus. From Friday 20 March, the waste transfer stations will accept payments via account or EFTPOS only.
  • Council has cancelled its 24 March meeting. Read more.
  • Council has instructed users to no longer hold gatherings of people at facilities and land owned or managed by Council.
  • Council has cancelled the Citizenship Ceremony on 25 March.
  • From Tuesday 17 March, Surf Coast Sport and Recreation Centre in Torquay and Winchelsea Health Club has closed.
  • From Tuesday 17 March Council’s main Torquay office, and planning and building services transitioned from over-the-counter to phone, email and internet-based services. People can phone 5261 0600, lodge a request for service via or find information on this website. People wishing to comment on a submission can email  
  • From close of business Friday 13 March Visitor Information Centres in Torquay, Lorne, Winchelsea and Anglesea have transitioned from over-the-counter to phone, email and website-based services.
  • From close of business Friday 13 March Torquay’s Australian National Surfing Museum has closed. An International Women’s Day High Tea scheduled for Winchelsea on 15 March has been postponed. Official launch of Winchelsea’s entrance sculptures, scheduled for 16 March has been postponed.

We have enacted our pandemic response plan and a Council working group is meeting daily to evaluate and respond to the latest COVID-19 developments. Our decision making is being informed by advice from health authorities.  

Changes to customer service

The Council will continue to provide customer service over the phone and online, but services will not be offered over the counter until further notice.

Customer service contact details are:

Lodge a request for service online
Hours: 8.30 am - 5 pm (Monday to Friday)
Phone: (03) 5261 0600 or 1300 610 600 
Postal Address: PO Box 350, Torquay, 3228

Event postponements and cancellations

Surf Coast Events from 20 March to 31 May that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions:

Deans Marsh Festival (20 - 22 March): Cancelled 
Torquay Tiger Drop (21 March): Proceeding with no crowd
Winchelsea Uniting Church Auction (21 March): Postponed, with new date TBA
Youth/Senior State Lifesaving Championships (21-22 March): Cancelled
The Sound Doctor Presents (26-28 March): Cancelled
Meadow Music Festival (27-29 March): Cancelled
Surf Coast Trek (28 March): Cancelled  

Green Living Festival (4 April): Postponed, with new date TBA
Rip Curl Pro (8-18 April): Postponed, with new date TBA
The Drop Music Festival (11 April): Postponed, with new date TBA
Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride (18 April): Cancelled
Cowrie Market (19 April): Cancelled
ANZAC Day services (25 April): Cancelled


Bellbrae Primary School Fair (3 May): Cancelled
School Sport Victoria Surfing Titles (8 May): Postponed
Victorian Junior Surfing Titles (9-10 May): Postponed
Independent Schools Teams Surfing Titles (11 May): Postponed
RACV Florence Thomson Tour (16 May): Postponed
Great Ocean Road Running Festival (16-17 May): Re-scheduled to 22-23 August
Victorian SUP Titles - Surfing (16-17 May): Postponed
Victorian Longboard Titles (23-24 May): Postponed
Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles (29-31 May): Postponed

In addition, all markets have been cancelled, with the exception of the Torquay Farmers Market. 


Information for food businesses

COVID-19 advice for food businesses

Please see the advice being offered by the Department of Health and Human Services:

COVID-19 advice for food businesses(PDF, 119KB)

Please find some additional information for food businesses who are providing a home delivery or takeaway service during the non-essential indoor gathering restrictions currently in place throughout Victoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you would be aware this situation is changing rapidly, and it is difficult to keep up to date with the latest information and advice so please ensure you regularly visit the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus (Covid-19) Disease Website

We hope that the following advice assists you with managing your business during this challenging time. The following content includes protection measures to keep you and your workers safe and how to comply with the government’s current restrictions.

Food safety advice

It is important that food businesses maintain good food handling practices at all times. Things to remember are:

  • Washing hands between handling raw and cooked foods

  • Avoid cross contamination between raw or undercooked foods and cooked or ready to eat foods in the kitchen

  • Thorough cooking and proper handling of potentially hazardous foods

  • All food is used within use-by dates and adequate stock rotation is maintained in the kitchen

  • Cleaning and sanitising, particularly all food contact surfaces

  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry with paper towel

  • Taking all practicable measures to prevent food contamination by food handlers

  • Using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and wash your hands thoroughly after.

  • Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.

Resources can be found here food safety rules poster and keep hands clean and food safety poster

Home deliveries

Take away and home deliveries can be carried out under your existing food registration. Food safety information for transporting/delivering food is available in your food safety program. If you are using the Department of Health and Human Services Food Safety Program for Class 2 retail and food service businesses, no. 1, version 3 this is listed in section 9. Other food safety program templates will have similar information. Refer to your program for detailed information.

In particular, when transporting or delivering food it is important to:

  • Protect the food from contamination by ensuring the food is sealed in food grade packaging. Ensure vehicles used for deliveries are regularly cleaned.

  • Maintain the food at a temperature that keeps it safe i.e. minimising time in transit or for longer deliveries consider using eskies and ice for cold deliveries, or thermal insulated bags for hot foods.

  • Provide relevant information about the food. Take away foods are generally not required to be labelled, however if a customer declares an allergy than ensure you have a system to manage this and associated risks. 

Please refer to the latest version of the DHHS food safety program template. 

What should a food business do to protect against coronavirus?

Cleaning - If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. More frequent cleaning of shared surfaces, this could include door handles (front door, vehicle doors and other surfaces inside the vehicle that are frequently touched, fridges/freezers, toilets/bathrooms), front servery counter and EFTpos keypad. Increase cleaning regimes for all other areas within the food business. Wash and sanitise all food preparation containers, utensils, chopping boards etc in the dishwasher or as per guidelines in the Food Safety Program. Please refer to the cleaning procedures for different businesses.

Food handler hygiene - Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water and dry with paper towel. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. Minimise the risk of cross contamination by avoiding touching areas that have been in direct contact with the customer. Management supervising food handler hygiene practices and implementing training if deficiencies are noted. The Food Safety Program and Food Safety Supervisor are good resources for this information.

Take away process - Implement a procedure to promote social distancing when customers arrive to pick up their orders. Suggestions include placing tape or a physical barrier in front of the counter area to help keep the 1.5m distance between customers and staff. Request that customers don’t congregate in the front servery area and that a 1.5m distance be kept between people at all times. Consider placing markers on the floor 1.5m apart where customers are required to stand whilst waiting for orders. Another option may be to instruct customers to wait outside once their order has been placed maintaining the 1.5m separation from others. Implement a cashless payment system or handle money with gloves or wash hands immediately after handling money. Online payments prior to entering the premises is another good option to minimise interaction. Wherever possible provide hand sanitiser at the cash register to allow staff to use if required.

Home delivery process - Minimise the sharing of cars wherever possible, this could be by allowing staff to use their own vehicle or assigning one staff member to do the home deliveries. If the one car is to be used by multiple staff then implement procedures for cleaning the car surfaces between staff members. Provide hand sanitiser in the car. Implement a cashless payment system (over the internet or payment over the phone). Do not accept cash payments on delivery. If the customer is someone who is quarantined or self-isolating then arrange to drop the meals at the door without any person to person contact (you may wish to implement this procedure for all customers). Delivery drivers need to take extra precautions and ensure that when returning to the food business that they thoroughly wash hands with soap and water and dry with paper towel. The use of an alcohol based hand sanitiser may be used when back in the vehicle. 

Notification to management of illness – inform your staff of the responsibility to notify you of them becoming a confirmed case of COVID-19, close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, recent overseas travel or other respiratory related illness. They should also inform you of any other illness that may impact them being a food handler, for example influenza and gastrointestinal related illness. In this instance food handlers should avoid preparing food for other people and seek medical attention if necessary.

Minimise staff contact - You may like to consider forming teams with your staff who work together on the same shift, and do not cross over with other teams working different days. This may mean that if a staff member from one team gets sick and close contacts need to self-isolate, only that group of workers would have to self-isolate, leaving your other teams to continue operating and filling the shifts of the isolated staff. This has not been a guideline provided to us by DHHS, and in the event this happens, DHHS may consider all staff in one business to be close contacts regardless, and direct all staff from the premises to self-isolate – this would ultimately be a DHHS decision, one which Councils will have no input into.

What happens if a food business employee tests positive?

If you start feeling unwell, you can find the most up to date information on the DHHS website.

Where can I find more information?

- National Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080

Vic Health


- World Health Organisation

Premier of Victoria

Message from our Business Support Team

If you are making changes to the way you do business, for example currently providing, or transitioning your business to provide a home delivery or takeaway service, the Surf Coast Business support team would like to hear from you. Please complete our survey to update us on your changes to service delivery, opening hours and how customers can contact you.

We will share this information with the Surf Coast community to keep them up to date with their options to practice social distancing and stay at home wherever possible. 

This information will be made available via Surf Coast Visitor Information Centres, the Surf Coast Shire Council website, and Surf Coast Business Collective facebook page.