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2TM Regional News

Regrettable lapse of social distancing at Council meeting

Social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions were missing at Gunnedah Shire Council's meeting Wednesday 16th September in what Mayor Jamie Chaffey says was a regrettable choice.

NSW Health recommends people stop using handshakes, hugging or kissing as a form of greetings to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Jamie Chaffey and Deputy Mayor Councillor Rob Hooke were reconfirmed for another term in their leadership positions which sparked the lapse in social distancing.

Councillors rose going straight in for handshakes and pats on the back to congratulate their peers ignoring the social distancing measures they actively encourage their constituents to follow.

Mayor Chaffey said in hindsight he probably shouldn't have gone around the room shaking hands.

"At times it can be quite difficult," Mr Chaffey said," We do need to make sure we don't become complacent at times of high emotion."

Councillor Murray O’Keefe can be heard half-joking, half-seriously reminding his fellow Councillors that they should all remember social distancing measures, despite then joining in the handshaking.

Mr O’keefe said it’s been a challenge to the natural culture of Australians but we must not get complacent.

"I think that it was an unfortunate lapse," Cnr O'Keefe said," There's a genuine collegiate attitude in that council chamber and that's excellent and that should be fostered."

"It's dam hard not to shake hands," Cnr O'Keefe said, "It's been a really difficult change, but we're all human and sometimes we get it wrong, but it's something we need to keep an eye on and make sure we're modelling the correct behaviour."


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