On 20 August 2020 the Full Board met to discuss the Public Health Order (COVID-19 Lord Howe Island) (the Order). The Board considered the advice from a range of sources including NSW Health and the inputs of a survey of Islanders (over 200 responses to date).
The Board concluded the following with respect to future Public Health Orders:
- There is a preference for a further extension of the public health order beyond 31 August 2020.
- There is a preference for the Order to take effect for 90 days with the ability of the order to be repealed by the Minster for Health.
- The Board would:
- meet on a regular basis to consider the potential to seek a repeal of the Order by the Minister for Health (at least at 4 weekly intervals and more often as required)
- consider at these meetings the advice of NSW Health in regards to the current NSW epidemiology and risks, the current state of NSW community transmissions as a rolling 7-day average, and the readiness of the Board Administration to implement a recovery plan
- the recovery plan would need to have the input of and approval by NSW Health on key health related areas and would also need the support of Service NSW to implement an application/entry permit.
- If the Board felt the risk levels were acceptable (as outlined above) and the mitigations proposed through the recovery plan were appropriate then they would write to the Minister for Health to seek a repeal of the Public Health Order.
The Board acknowledges that it is the decision of the Minister for Health as to whether the Order be extended, for what period and whether or not it should be repealed but offers this information in support of the Minister’s consideration in taking such decisions.
This advice has been provided to the Minister for Health and it is anticipated that a formal decision on the Order will be made sometime next week. The Board Administration will continue to work on a recovery plan to enable a safe opening of the Island. The Board Administration will also prepare a paper for the September Board meeting considering financial assistance for Island businesses.