Some changes to Wiltshire Council services in the next few weeks
Upcoming changes to our leisure, library and registration services
Wiltshire Council has shared an update on how some of its services will be changing in the coming weeks, as it continues to work hard to ensure residents get the best possible service during the pandemic.
Last Monday (14 June), the Government made the decision to delay proceeding to the final step of the roadmap and will maintain most restrictions currently in place. Throughout the pandemic, the council's services have continuously been looking to improve access for it's communities where possible, and teams across the council have identified ways to safely increase provision until Step 4 of the roadmap can proceed.
Most of Wiltshire's libraries have already reopened for browsing and computer use, and with there no longer being a requirement to quarantine books and a change to the way the libraries are managing Test and Trace, many libraries across the county are also extending their hours, starting from today. For individual opening times and days, people can visit the Library locations and opening times page and the Mobile Libraries page. For more details, including the COVID-19 safety measures in place, visit the Libraries news page.
Ludgershall, Purton and Ramsbury remain closed for now and the council is working with its volunteers to look to reopen these sometime in July. Further details about the reopening of Market Lavington will be released in due course.
Wiltshire libraries are operating a browsing model, where users can visit the library to select and return items and access bookable public computers. If users have borrowed an item from one of the reopened libraries, the normal loan periods and charges will be applied.
Items borrowed before lockdown will no longer be auto renewed and are now due back from the week beginning 5 July. If customers' items were borrowed from a library that has not yet reopened, they will not be charged. Items can either be returned once the library reopens or customers can return them to another library if they wish. To check return dates or renew loans, customers can log into their library account, contact their local library or email email@example.com.
Leisure Centres run by the council will also be making a few changes from today. The council's leisure services have been operating a very cautious booking system for gyms, while they gained an understanding of the demand and their ability to manage large numbers. After review, the service is taking the opportunity to remove the booking system and are now confident that they can still deliver full COVID-19 secure measures. The centres continue to have the health and safety of customers and staff at the heart of all their decision making, along with ensuring that they are conforming to national guidelines for fitness and swimming.
The council is removing the requirement to pre-book gym sessions from today. Customers will be able to visit the gym when they want, for as long as they want, as per normal operating procedures. The centres will continue to monitor capacities in the gym and should these be reached at any point, they will be required to prevent further admission until there is space.
The majority of swimming pool sessions will remain bookable, but leisure teams will continue to monitor and review processes over time with some changes possible leading in to the summer holidays. These changes will be communicated to customers as and when required. Customers can continue to turn up and swim if there is space in the session, although pre-booking will continue to guarantee a space. All timetables are available online through the online booking website or people can visit their leisure centre homepage and view the site specific swimming timetable page.
Due to the limitations of space on most group exercise classes, these will continue to be bookable sessions. Social distancing guidelines remain in place and facilities such as health suites, changing rooms and showers will continue to operate as they are currently.
The Leisure Centres managed on behalf of the council by Places Leisure will continue to operate as they have done. For more information people can visit Places Leisure: Wiltshire leisure centres.
Following the Government's roadmap announcement, from today, weddings can proceed with more than 30 people, providing social distancing can be observed. To adhere to social distancing measures and remain COVID safe, a full list of the capacity limits of the council's Registration Office ceremony rooms can be found on our Ceremonies webpage. Full details on the Government announcement and the changes to some restrictions can be found at GOV.UK: Guidance (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do.
Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Libraries, said:
The pandemic has hugely impacted our services over the past 15 months, and our staff have worked hard to ensure they have continued to adhere to all COVID-19 safety measures as required, whilst providing as many services as permitted throughout the restrictions. Our teams have adapted the way they deliver services and used truly innovative approaches we would never have imagined prior to COVID-19.
Although there is a delay to the next step of the roadmap proceeding, our services are continuing to run with as much capacity as possible and aiming to support our communities to get back to using and enjoying the services we offer with as much freedom and flexibility as permitted.
It's important to remember that the majority of the current restrictions will not yet be changing so we all need to continue play our part to stop the spread of the virus so that the country can proceed to Step 4 while keeping ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible.