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More local governments close facilities and halt events

More local governments close facilities and halt events
March 19, 2020

With the nation facing serious challenges in addressing the spread of the Coronavirus, local governments are looking to protect their communities, customers and staff by closing facilities and cancelling or postponing all non-essential events and in-person meetings.

In addition to the closure of facilities already announced by the cities of Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne, as well as the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Australasian Leisure Management is aware of the following:

Blue Mountains City Council (NSW)
As of Wednesday 18th March, the Council has closed libraries, pools and visitor information centres until further notice. 

This includes libraries at Blackheath, Wentworth Falls, Lawson and Blaxland although the Council advises libraries at Katoomba and Springwood "remain open for now".

Aquatic centres at Glenbrook and Lawson have also closed until further notice but aquatic and recreation centres at Katoomba and Springwood remain open for now, with the number of users capped at 100 people at any one time. 

Learn to swim, swim squads and tumbling programs will be suspended until further notice. Group fitness classes also continue, with social distancing and increased sanitisation.

Blackheath Pool closed earlier this month, for the autumn/winter seasons.

Canterbury Bankstown Council (NSW)
Canterbury Bankstown Council closed all of its six swimming pools from Wednesday 18th March, after making "difficult decisions" to ensure the health of staff and residents.

It also shut five libraries while limiting the number of people at four others to ensure "social distancing".

City of Armadale (Western Australia)
City of Armadale has cancelled all its organised events involving gatherings over 500 people. At this stage this includes the following events: Armadale Arts Festival, Minnawarra Art Awards, NAIDOC Celebrations, Outside the Frame (Youth Art Awards) and the City’s Urban Forest Strategy Workshop.

Closure from midnight on Wednesday 18th March 2020 for an initial duration of four weeks of the Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre (AFAC) and Armadale Arena. Memberships and payments will be suspended with effect from 18th March including the Swim School.

City of Sydney
Cancelling or postponing all non-essential events and in-person meetings, closing gyms and aquatic centres and placing restricted hours on libraries and community centres.

Closure from Friday 20th March until Friday 3rd April of all City of Sydney aquatic and fitness centres

Closure from 19th to 31st March of libraries and the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, Harry Jensen, Juanita Nielsen, Redfern, Pyrmont, Ultimo, Ron Williams, Reginald Murphy, Cliff Noble and St Helen’s Community Centres as well as King George V Recreation Centre.

Northern Beaches Council (Sydney)
Aquatic centres, galleries, theatre, visitor information centre and environment centres have been closed from 18th March until further notice.

Shoalhaven City Council (NSW)
Suspension from Thursday 19th March Shoalhaven Swim, Sport and Fitness' Learn to Swim and Squad programs across multiple locations until further notice. 

Shoalhaven Swim, Sport and Fitness is currently contacting all affected patrons to advise of the suspension. Learn to Swim memberships and student placements will be placed on hold, and Direct Debit payments will be suspended, with no further payment being deducted.

All other programs including the gym, casual swimming, café services and all group fitness classes will remain available at this stage with staff closely monitoring attendances at indoor facilities to ensure that no breach of social distancing requirements occur.

Shoalhaven residents can visit the Council’s and Swim, Sport and Fitness’s website for updates. 

Should facilities close?
While the Federal Government ban on non-essential outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people and indoor gatherings of more than 100 people has inevitably led to many closures, the closure of aquatic facilities comes notwithstanding consensus that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an airborne virus which cannot spread through water.

Last week, a spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Health confirmed that “COVID-19 is very unlikely to be transmitted through swimming pool water where adequate chlorine levels are maintained.”

In addition, following the announcement of the ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people on 18th March, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish advised “gyms do not need to close”.

Elvish advised “it is our understanding that the 100-person limit for static indoor gatherings applies to the whole venue not individual rooms such as gym studios session rooms.”

The latest information on Coronavirus can be viewed at

First published on 18th March, this article will be updated regularly.

Image shows the City of Sydney's Prince Alfred Park Pool.

Related Articles

19th March 2020 - Australasian Leisure Management and the Coronavirus crisis

19th March 2020 - Government issues Coronavirus guidelines for community sport, stating fitness centres and swimming pools need not close

18th March 2020 - City of Newcastle brings forward end-of-season swimming pool closures

18th March 2020 - Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish says ‘gyms do not need to close’

18th March 2020 - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison halts international travel and bans indoor gatherings of over 100

18th March 2020 - New City of Fremantle web page provides information on COVID-19 impacts on facilities and services

18th March 2020 - Adelaide Festival Centre and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre announce venue closures

18th March 2020 - City of Greater Geelong closes facilities in Coronavirus response

17th March 2020 - Coronavirus fears sees closure of aquatic centres despite conflicting advice

17th March 2020 - HOTA and MONA close to prevent spread of Coronavirus

17th March 2020 - Coronavirus impact puts up to 50 million jobs at risk across global tourism

17th March 2020 - City of Ballarat closes aquatic and cultural buildings

16th March 2020 - Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill stands down casual staff as visitor numbers dip

16th March 2020 - Chief Medical Officer says going to cinemas and gyms is ‘low risk’ during Coronavirus outbreak

16th March 2020 - City of Melbourne announces ‘temporary closure’ of libraries and cultural and recreation centres

13th March 2020 - Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre celebrates one year of operation

13th March 2020 - Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people effectively banned across Australia

12th March 2020 - Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces $18 billion economic stimulus package

11th March 2020 - Live Performance Australia release Coronavirus statement

11th March 2020 - Fitness Australia releases advice on Coronavirus

8th March 2020 - Aquatic facilities react to Coronavirus fears

13th February 2020 - ATIC calls for government support to counter coronavirus impact on tourism industry

31st January 2020 - Coronavirus declared global health emergency by World Health Organization

20th December 2017 - Blue Mountains City Council advances swimming pool closure plans

12th August 2015 - Sydney’s costly affair with extravagant aquatic centres

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