Boris Johnson confirmed at the final Daily Media Briefing on June 23 that a number of public spaces, including libraries, will be able to reopen this weekend. When will libraries reopen?
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that afternoon that pubs, restaurants, and a number of other establishments will be reopened as the nation continues to see a drop in coronavirus cases.
He said: “Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end.”
The venues allowed to reopen include hairdressers, hotels, cinemas, pubs, restaurants and libraries.
On top of these facilities reopening, the 2-metre rule will be reduced to 1m, making it possible for thousands of workers to go back to their jobs.
Mr Johnson admitted that the distancing rule makes it impossible for areas of the economy to operate, and “prevents all but a fraction of our hospitality industry from operating.”
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Before these businesses reopen, though, they must be proved to be COVID-19 secure, and activity will not resume as normal.
Pubs and resturants, for example, will be table service only, and hairdressers must wear a screen-like visor to protect themselves and customers.
Cinemas will be spaced out, with separate households keeping seats free between them.
Mr Johnson said: “Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks, remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.”
So what does this news mean for libraries?
The reopening of libraries is subject to official data showing the amount of COVID-19 infections declining.
The Prime Minister warned that the government would put any areas with a resurgence of coronavirus breakouts back into lockdown, and even the whole nation if needed.
The government hasn’t specified how staff and visitors will stay safe in libraries just yet.
However, reopening will happen in phases based on public health guidance and risk management.
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So far, only just over 40 of the 150 public library services in England have revealed how they will reopen.
26 of these will employ a “click and collect only” service.
This will mean members can check out a book online or over the phone and arrange a time to come and collect it.
Librarians and other staff may need to wear PPE, and a limit on how many people are allowed in the library at once may be applied.
There could also be a one-way system, just like we have seen in shops throughout lockdown.
Hairdressers and many other establishments are operating on an appointment-only system, and this is what some libraries will be doing.
There is no timeframe on these measures, as the government has not announced how long they will be in place for libraries.
When will libraries reopen in England?
As long as the following businesses– including libraries– are COVID-19 secure, they can reopen from July 4:
- Hotels, hostels bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
- Places of Worship
- Community Centres
- Restaurants, Cafes and Workplace Canteens
- Bingo Halls
- Theatres and concert halls, but no live music
- Museums and galleries
- Hair salons and barbers
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Outdoor gyms
- Funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities
- Amusement arcades
- Outdoor skating rinks
- Other indoor leisure centres or facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues
- Social Clubs
- Model villages
- Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction.
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