The City of Melbourne is managing the staged re-opening of libraries, recreation centres and community sporting fields as COVID-19 restrictions are eased across the state.
- Six library branches
- Four recreation centres
- Sporting fields and two skate parks.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said select Council facilities will begin to re-open this week, with strict capacity and physical distancing rules in line with the best health and safety advice and Victorian Government restrictions.
“We know people have been missing community facilities such as libraries and pools but safety is our first priority so will take a staged approach to re-opening,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Pedestrian numbers within the city have increased by more than 20 per cent in the past week compared to three weeks ago.
“However we cannot rush back to the way things were. It’s vital we work together, follow physical distancing guidelines and maintain good hygiene practices to help keep our community safe.”
Chair of the People City portfolio, Councillor Beverley Pinder, said sporting fields are among the first to re-open after months of limited physical activity.
“Sport means so much to Melburnians and local clubs play a vital role in promoting health and wellbeing. Access to sporting fields will be given to clubs who are managing their own COVID-19 Return to Play Plan,” Cr Pinder said.
“Kensington Community Recreation Centre will re-open this Thursday 4 June with rules for patron limits and physical distancing. This includes limiting the number of people using our pools to two per lane and restricting access to change room facilities.
“Patrons will be able to enjoy a return to the rest of our recreation facilities at Melbourne City Baths, North Melbourne Recreation Centre and Carlton Baths when they re-open later this month. We will announce more details soon.”
The City of Melbourne will re-open City Library, Library at the Dock, Kathleen Syme Library, North Melbourne Library, Southbank Library and East Melbourne Library from Tuesday 9 June.
Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, Councillor Dr Jackie Watts, said that the good news is that libraries are reopening with restricted patron numbers and reduced hours.
“The safety of our staff and the community is vital as we re-open our much-loved libraries,” Dr Watts said.
“Access to our libraries will be prioritised for people who are unable to access the internet at home, those facing social isolation and people experiencing economic hardship.
“Our libraries will provide access to computers, internet, printing, reserved books, limited access to collections and our City Library social worker.
“For people unable to return to our branches, I certainly encourage them to continue using our digital library services.
“Since COVID-19 restrictions began, we’ve experienced a huge surge in demand for e-library services, including a 76 per cent increase in eBook loans and a 59 per cent increase in eAudiobook usage. Evidence shows that Libraries are well understood as a fundamental resource to our community”.