5 more libraries set to partially reopen in Winnipeg, plan for pools still coming

By | June 11, 2020

Winnipeggers looking for some summer reads will soon be able to pick up books at several more libraries around the city.

Beginning June 22, five additional Winnipeg Public Library branches will partially reopen, the city said Thursday, joining the three — Millennium, Henderson, and Pembina Trail — that opened on June 8 for people to pick up items on hold.

None of the WPL’s 20 branches are open yet for browsing inside or settling in for a stay.

But all eight of the partially reopened branches will offer additional services as part of the second phase of library system’s reopening strategy, including pickups, telephone reference service, and access to return borrowed library materials.

The city had to take its time with reopening to ensure that each library could allow for physical distancing inside, and could “maintain different services around high-touch areas”, said Jay Shaw, the city’s assistant chief of emergency management, at news conference Thursday afternoon.

“We recognize that citizens might have to travel an extra kilometre or so to get to their local library, but rest assured we’re hoping to get all of our libraries opened up as soon as possible into Phase 3, and we’ll do that safe and slowly, as quick as we can,” said Shaw.

All eight libraries that are partially reopened will offer more services as part of the next stage of their reopening, including pickups, telephone reference service, and access to return borrowed library materials. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The following branches are set to open June 22: 

Public hours of operation will be:

  • Monday to Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Customers will be asked to use a posted self-assessment symptom checklist before entering the buildings. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter the branches.

Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance of each library. Plexiglas shields have been installed at each checkout station.

Visits to pick up hold items are limited to one person per family, although that designated person can pick up other family members’ holds if they bring the other users’ library cards.

Returned library materials will be quarantined for 72 hours before re-entering circulation. 

Library staff have received safety training, and will be following handwashing protocols and disinfecting surfaces as needed.

Shaw is unsure how many staff will be allowed to return to work, he said.

Phase 3 of the WPL reopening strategy will include the the restoration of all services at all branches, the city said. That phase will be implemented after Phase 2 has been assessed.

No date to reopen outdoor pools 

Despite being allowed to open with limitations at the turn of the month, there is still no definitive date for the reopening of outdoor swimming pools in the City of Winnipeg, Shaw said.

The city was planning its reopening strategy for pools based on Phase 2 of the Manitoba government’s reopening strategy, Shaw said.

Some of the limitations in Phase 2 include limiting capacity to 50 per cent or one person per 10 square meters, using staggered entry times, and closing saunas and steam rooms.

There is still no date for the reopening of city-run outdoor pools, Shaw said Thursday. (Shutterstock/Chang-Min Ok)

But after the province released a draft of Phase 3 of its reopening — tentatively scheduled for June 21 — on Thursday, the city will have to analyze those updates before releasing the plan for outdoor pools, Shaw said.

Indoor pools are allowed to open under Phase 2, but the city is looking at outdoor pools first, Shaw said, and the city is “getting very close to finalizing the operational plans needed to open them safely.”

Not much new to consider in Phase 3: Shaw

The proposed expansions to services listed in the provincial government’s draft of Phase 3 were expected, as the city was given some information about what it could contain ahead of its release, said Shaw.

The city is still assessing the draft and there isn’t much new that affects the city’s reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. “But the nuances have to be looked at from the way the legal orders are put together, and we want to take the time to assess everything before we make decisions.”

Bike auction gets green light

The city’s annual bike auction is still a go, except this year it will be done online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaw said Thursday.

Every year, the City of Winnipeg auctions lost bikes that were found, but never claimed.

There are about 700 unclaimed bikes are up for grabs this year, Shaw said.

Bidding runs from June 24-30.

More information regarding the auction can be found on the City of Winnipeg website.

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