Bushcare is back.
With NSW Government restrictions easing surrounding COVID-19 from June 1, Blue Mountains City Council’s decision to allow Bushcare to recommence is great news for many of you whom are eager to get back out and re-engage with your Bushcare sites. We are asking you to take some precautions, follow physical distancing rules and limit numbers to 9 volunteers at a time.
Our key consideration as we return is the safety of volunteers and staff, particularly our volunteers that fall within the vulnerable or high-risk categories. We hope you understand the reasons for the COVID 19 safety protocols and adhere to them strictly to keep all of us safe.
We look forward to seeing you all again, being back out in the bush, working on our sites, and hearing what you have been up to during the restrictions that have been put in place during our response to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Meet in groups of 10 (Bushcare Officer + 9 volunteers); a fair and equitable booking system will be put in place.
Your Bushcare Officer will send an email out so you can book your name for the next group’s workday and should the group numbers reach a maximum of 9 persons then you will be first on the list for next month’s group workday. For larger groups with numbers up to 18, an additional Bushcare Officer may be put on so that the group may be split into two groups.
On your Bushcare day the following safety practices and principles will apply:
- Toolbox talks to be held with all volunteers to brief on the current BMCC COVID return plan – attendees and meeting times will be documented and signed on behalf of the Bushcare Officer to reduce contact with equipment.
- Bushcare Officers to provide hand sanitiser/disinfectant/PPE.
- Regularly use the alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain a minimum physical distance of 1.5 m between volunteers and staff.
Herbicide applicators and Council issued tools to be placed on a table with one person at a time coming to collect. Spray/wipe down all equipment before and after use with 70% alcohol sanitiser.
To reduce the risk of transmission between staff and volunteers then morning/afternoon tea breaks will be managed as follows:
- volunteers will bring your own morning tea (food, tea and coffee), and
- no sharing of food between people of different households.
Maintaining site, WHS, and Volunteer attendance records
- Bushcare Officers only are responsible to maintain all physical Bushcare Site record books and will handle the book and pen and sign on behalf of volunteers attending.
- For those groups maintaining their own book, the Volunteer Coordinator shall be responsible to only handle the book and pen and sign on behalf of the volunteers.
- Record ‘COVID 19 Protocol’ on the signed sheet, to ensure transparency of why volunteers are being signed for.
- Ensure all attendees names have been recorded — it could help with contact tracing.
If you are not confident of returning to Bushcare next month we will welcome you back at any stage.
- If you have been overseas, please do not return to Bushcare until 14 days have passed.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider. If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, do not attend and seek medical care early.
- Follow the directions of your local health authority.
- Should any person attend a site and present with any symptoms of cold or flu, they will not be permitted to participate in any Bushcare activities until the results of the COVID 19 test can be presented.
National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Please note that this plan is subject to ongoing NSW Department of Health and Federal Government advice and directives resulting from Public Health Orders and Government Announcements that may override it.