Welcome back relief

Mayor Khal Asfour joined Joe the Barber at Padstow to welcome back his first customers, after the shop was closed for more than three months during the pandemic.

WELCOME back is the message from an excited Canterbury Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour, who “can’t wait to have our fun City back and alive again”.

Many of the council’s services and facilities which were closed during the pandemic, have reopened with the easing of restrictions and over the coming weeks there will be more, including the Bankstown Arts Centre, Bryan Brown Theatre and Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Centre.
“I know we’ve waited a long time for this, but we must remember the new freedoms are for those fully vaccinated and come with strict rules,” Mayor Asfour said.
“All premises will operate at one person per four square metres indoors and one person per two square metres outdoors, and visitors will need to show their Covid-19 vaccination certificate when checking in on arrival.”
Council facilities that will be reopening, include: Libraries; indoor pools (bookings required); gyms (bookings required); group fitness classes at Canterbury Leisure and Aquatic Centre (bookings required); customer service centres (bookings required); and community halls (bookings available from October 18).
State MP for Canterbury, Sophie Cotsis, says the opening up comes with many challenges, including how to protect retail and hospitality workers from abuse and violence.
She says there has been a surge in violence, much of it coming from the community’s frustrations over the lockdown and restrictions, with the retail sector alone rising 78 per cent over the past year.
“From healthcare workers in hospitals, to floor staff at local grocery stores, workers across this State have been victims of verbal abuse by some frustrated members of the community,” she said.
“The threat of violence and abuse against workers will only heighten when they are required to check the vaccination status of customers.”