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District supports diverse communities during COVID-19

District partners with local businesses to share COVID-safe messages.

Man and woman standing in front of shop door; pointing out COVID messaging
SydneyConnect Image: Supporting local communities

Sydney Local Health District staff have visited close to 700 local businesses delivering face masks, hand sanitiser and multilingual COVID-19 signage to support the District’s culturally and linguistically diverse community.

Staff have visited stores in shopping strips at Ashfield, Belmore, Burwood, Campsie, Canterbury, Lakemba, Marrickville, Punchbowl, Strathfield and Riverwood.

“We’re proactively reaching out to our diverse community. It’s another way we’re partnering with them and working together to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Luisi, the Director of the District’s Diversity Program and Strategy Hub, said.

Staff have met with people at local businesses including grocery stores, restaurants, takeaway shops, banks, chemists, medical centres, and dental surgeries.

They have distributed more than 7000 posters about mask wearing, COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 safe behaviours in English, Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, Greek, Korean, Nepali and Vietnamese.

They have also checked that every business is using QR code check-ins and offered support and advice to those with questions or concerns.

“Our bilingual staff are key to supporting and communicating with people – sharing information, offering guidance and addressing any issues raised during this latest COVID-19 outbreak,” Ms Luisi said.

Data shows 44 per cent of residents living in the District were born overseas. About 200 languages are spoken in the local community with 55 per cent of the population speaking a non-English language at home.

Wa’el Sabri, Senior Community Engagement Officer at the Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub, visited stores in Lakemba, Punchbowl, Riverwood and Belmore.

“It’s important for the community to have COVID-safe messages in-language so they can understand what’s required, make sure they wear masks and get tested if they have symptoms.

“Everyone knows we’re going through a difficult time at the moment. But, if everyone follows the rules, we will get through this together,” he said.

The response from the community has been positive.

“This is very important to stop the spread of COVID-19…to make sure all the customers wear their masks and sanitise their hands,” said Elma, who works at a grocery store in Punchbowl.

Ahmad Mattan, who runs a phone shop at Punchbowl, was also appreciative – particularly of the COVID-safe signage about wearing face masks.

“We have to convey to everyone that they can put a mask on for health safety. This is very important for yourself and for others as well to put on a mask. If you put on a mask you save yourself… you save your family and you save other families,” he said.

For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/COVID-19