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Getting services ready to reopen

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By Fiona Reid
Front
Getting services ready to reopen

PLANNING is underway at the council for how to safely reopen the region’s libraries, museums, galleries and tourist attractions.

They are allowed to restart from April 26 but most will have operational changes put in place to enable social distancing.

There will be additional cleaning of touch points, additional screens, hand sanitiser, and extra ventilation flow.

Online bookings will remain in many places along with cashless payments where possible.

And there will also continue to be online virtual leisure classes and officials are keen to develop the delivery of online talks and events as well.

However, a number of key leisure facilities are currently in use for the vaccination programme, community testing and mobile testing, with 200 council staff redeployed to other departments.

This means that some services will be unable to reopen at the end of the month.

Council manager Karen Brownlie said: “A number of leisure and sport facilities are being used to deliver life-saving mass vaccination and lateral flow community testing services. It will therefore not be possible for these facilities to return to normal activity when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“The requirement for these facilities to continue to be used for our region’s mass vaccination programme may remain for some time.”

She also noted that some arts, museums and customer service buildings will remain closed where it is not possible to overcome the physical constraints, adding: “This is due to the facilities not being compliant with national guidelines and therefore not safe to reopen at this current time.

“This position will continue to be monitored in line with national guidance.”

However, officials do want to see the department back up and running as soon as possible. Karen said: “Services such as culture, major festivals and events, customer services and leisure and sport will contribute to our region’s overall recovery and focus on economic development. Planning for these range of services to re-start must fully consider the appropriate safety arrangements and prevailing national guidance.

“It is also acknowledged the positive impact that reopening facilities, where possible, will have on our communities’ health and wellbeing.”

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