150 staff lose jobs as pools forced to shut down
ALL swimming pools in the Ipswich City Council area will shut their doors from today to further minimise the spread of COVID-19.
About 150 staff members from across the five pools, multiple gym facilities and the nature centre will be impacted by the closures.
The decision comes after Scott Morrison tightened gathering restrictions Tuesday night, and Just Sport n Fitness managing director Justin Lemberg, who manages the council-owned pools, said he was prepared to re-open as quickly as the government allows.
"We're planning to open tomorrow, whenever tomorrow is," he said.
"We know people want to be active. They want to exercise. It's important to their physical and mental health, so we want to be sure to be there for people whenever we're able."
General manager of Just Sports n Fitness Matt Johnstone said a limited number of staff would remain at the facilities to keep them in shape for reopening as soon as possible.
"We're a community business and we understand the importance of health and fitness to people," Mr Johnstone said.
"Every day we see it as part of their daily ritual of coming in and exercising, and the positive benefits of it all.
"Our goal will be to open as soon as we can get the go ahead from the government so that we can provide that service again to the community."
He said the staff who lose their job due to the shut down will be offered their positions again once the facilities get the green light to open again.
"We have 150 staff that we will lose and our first priority will be to get them back within our businesses as soon as we can."
Ipswich City Council CEO David Farmer said it was disappointing that pools had to close.
"Orion Lagoon is a popular meeting spot, particularly in warmer weather and on weekends," he said.
"This is a sign of the times, and the situation we are faced with is serious. It doesn't come more serious.
"The Prime Minister and the chief health officer have made it quite clear that it is our civic duty to enact social distancing regulations, to ensure we're abiding by social gathering restrictions, and respecting health and hygiene guidelines."
The Ipswich Nature Centre was originally planned to close on March 30, but will shut alongside the pools from 5pm today as well.
The pools to shut include:
- Goodna Pool
- Bundamba Pool
- Leichhardt Pool
- Rosewood Pool
- Orion Lagoon
- Riverheart Parkland water play area
- Robelle Splash (privately owned and operated)
Read more stories from Toni Benson-Rogan.