Lord Mayor’s message, April 2020

The health and wellbeing of our community is paramount. As we face the biggest public health challenge of our time, I want to reassure you that looking after our community is at the heart of all our decision-making.

The City of Melbourne is committed to supporting all residents and businesses by delivering essential services and helping combat the spread of COVID-19.

Every Councillor and City of Melbourne staff member is committed to doing whatever we can to help our community get through this unprecedented time.

We have established a COVID-19 Taskforce to implement the advice and actions from the Victorian Government and the National Cabinet for COVID-19 across our operations.

We know this is a stressful time – so ensuring we continue to deliver for the community and look after those most at-risk has never been more important.

You can count on us to continue to deliver services such as waste and recycling; support for the elderly, isolated and at-risk; children’s services; homelessness services and animal management. It’s what we’re here to do, and we won’t let you down.

We’re continuing to deliver meals and in-home support services to frail older people. More than 600 people rely on these support services.

While we must adhere to the most up-to-date health advice, I urge all Melburnians to support each other and our business community.

The measures taken to slow the spread of the virus are hitting our local economy hard.

Without our ongoing support many businesses will be forced to close and locals will lose their jobs.

About 80 per cent of our city’s 16,000 businesses are small businesses. These are sole operators, family operations and small firms with just a few employees. Real people are being severely impacted.

The City of Melbourne is doing what we can. We have announced a support package that includes waiving certain fees, halving rent for tenants in Council-owned buildings, developing a rates hardship policy, partnering with Spotless to offer work around the city to casual staff who have lost their jobs, hosting a virtual Business Support Summit, and offering small business grants.

The speed and strength of the city’s economic recovery will depend on how well we can support and save businesses through this period.

Being caring and creative are two of Melbourne’s greatest strengths – and we will need both to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

We showed the depth of our support for others during the state’s recent bushfire crisis. We naturally come together during tough times to lend a helping hand. Now is the time to continue and expand that tradition of being a caring community that puts people first.

Every one of us can take steps to help stop the spread of this virus in our community.

The easiest and most effective way to protect yourself and your family is to wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing. It’s easy and it works.

The advice on COVID-19 is changing quickly. Please visit the Department of Health and Human Service’s COVID-19 hub for health information.

We will endeavour to keep you updated as we work through what this means for our community. Information on City of Melbourne services will be updated on our COVID-19 webpage.

Please take care of yourself and each other during this challenging time.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp