Bedford libraries’ reopening date still under review

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Bedford Central Library

A date for local libraries to reopen has yet to be set, as Borough officials remain concerned about the high coronavirus infection rate in Bedford.

A phased reopening of libraries in Bedford, Putnoe, Kempston, Bromham and Wootton is planned, but no dates have yet been given.

Nationally, government guidelines permitted libraries to reopen on 4 July.

Bedford Borough is among several areas throughout the UK who have deferred reopening, including Barking and Dagenham, Central Bedfordshire, Calderdale, Ealing, Sandwell and the Wirral.

A Borough Council spokesperson said, “With the infection rate locally having been higher than in other places, Bedford Borough Council took the decision that libraries would remain closed for the time being.

“This decision is being kept under review; although infection rates locally had improved, there has been an increase in recent weeks and last week Bedford Borough was added to the Government’s ‘areas of concern’.

“We are urging the public to help avoid a local lockdown by continuing to keep 2 metres apart from people other than those you live with, avoiding gatherings, wearing a face covering if you can, washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitiser, and to book a test if you have any coronavirus symptoms.

“Plans have been developed to reopen library services in a phased way in line with national guidance regarding libraries and other public places, when it is safe to do so for customers and staff.

“Please keep an eye on the Council’s website and social media accounts for further news.

“In the meantime, there are a wide range of digital services and resources available online through the Virtual Library – visit https://virtual-library.culturalservices.net

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