Essex Libraries set to reopen on different dates

PUBLISHED: 18:36 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:36 26 June 2020

Saffron Walden Library. Picture: Saffron Photo.

Saffron Walden Library. Picture: Saffron Photo.

SaffronPhoto 2016

Essex County Council (ECC) has announced when it will reopen its libraries.

The plans have been shared following review by the council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Policy and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, June 25.

Essex Libraries have been temporarily closed over the past few months in line with Government guidance around COVID-19.

A phased re-opening of sites which also provide registration services will see an initial group of libraries re-open from July 6 - including Dunmow and Braintree.

An additional 44 libraries, including Saffron Walden and Stansted, will open from July 13.

Plans for the remaining 14 libraries will be regularly reviewed, to assess how it might be possible to re-open them in line with current Government guidance around social distancing. These include Debden and Thaxted.

Councillor Susan Barker, cabinet member for Essex Libraries, said: “We are so pleased to have taken another step forward to re-opening all of our libraries and are looking forward to welcoming people back soon.

“It has been vital to plan to re-open sites in stages in order to ensure that we could carry out appropriate risk assessments and put procedures in place to ensure our customers and employees remain safe.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in getting us to this point and also our customers for their patience.”

The services offered at Essex Libraries will look different in order to support new safety measures and social distancing guidelines.

Residents will be able to return and borrow books, and have limited time to browse the shelves.

The number of customers allowed in a library at any one time will also need to be reduced.

Customers will be asked to use the self-service machines to issue and return their items and make payments.

Public computers, printing facilities and additional services such as recycling bags will be temporarily unavailable, but these services will be reviewed frequently, so that they can be offered again as soon as possible.

The plans are available on the Essex County Council’s website and remain subject to call-in until Wednesday July 1.

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