With the COVID-19 coronavirus closing in on Canberra, we have taken the difficult decision to close the Conservation Office to member groups and the public from the end of this week. This morning we will be calling those who have room bookings in the next two weeks to work through what arrangements can be made for their meetings. We would encourage people to either postpone meetings, hold them online, or hold them somewhere where they can monitor people’s movements better.

In the last two days we have put in place measures to improve hygiene and ensure that we know who is using the office, but it is apparent that we do not have the resources to ensure these measures are adhered to.

We appreciate that making this decision early may attract some criticism, and understand that the ACT Government’s official advice is that there is no community transmission as yet. However, this action is an attempt to put in place preventative measures that we believe are manageable for the organisation, as it’s become clear that official advice is changing on a daily basis. In addition, it is important that we put in place measures that will support those who are the most vulnerable in our community, which includes our wonderful environment and sustainability community.

Staff will be working from home with many online meetings and possibly the occasional face-to-face conversation, and we will ensure that members of the public who arrive at the office are redirected. If member groups need to get in touch with us please email us individually, or Helen at director@conservationcouncil.org.au.

We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause you and your member groups, however we have a duty of care to our staff and also to the many people who use our office every week. We will re-evaluate our decision on a weekly basis as the situation evolves. Please get in touch if you have any questions about how this will be implemented.

And importantly, please take care of yourselves and each other, remembering that we can all help to protect those more vulnerable members of our community. Stay connected to us, and to each other, online and on the phone. And enjoy our beautiful outdoors this glorious autumn as best you can – it really is a lovely time of year.