Could be another month before Winnipeg libraries reopen: city councillor

By | May 6, 2020

It may be weeks before the City of Winnipeg’s libraries reopen, according to the chair of the city’s protection and community services committee.

Libraries were among the many city-owned facilities shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 1 of the Manitoba government’s reopening strategy, which took effect on Monday, allows libraries, museums and galleries to open their doors again.

But the plan stipulates that “high-touch displays” must remain closed for now.

At Wednesday’s council meeting, Coun. Sherri Rollins said she is “emphasizing the slow and methodical approach” to reopening.

“It is that abundance of caution that has literally been saving lives during the pandemic,” she said.

The city’s library board met Tuesday night, and the consensus was that libraries could reopen to the public in about a month’s time.

Though the reopening plan allows libraries to reopen, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said at a news conference last Friday that libraries are intended to be “high-touch” environments.

“We want people to touch the books, we want them to take them home, we want them to read them, we want them to share them with friends and family. We want them to return for others to touch,” Bowman said.

Libraries can reopen if they follow numerous public health rules, which includes maintaining physical distancing between staff and visitors — except for “brief exchanges” — and limiting occupancy to 50 per cent, or one person per 10 square metres, whichever is lower.

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