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Services expand as lockdown conditions ease

Staffordshire County Council will be providing more services from this week as lockdown restrictions ease. From today (12th April) library users will be able to browse shelves again, more guests can attend weddings at register offices and some country park facilities will begin to reopen. Helen Riley, Staffordshire County Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities, said: “As lockdown eases, we are very pleased to be able to take a step towards restoring more public access to our services in the community. “Inevitably some conditions remain in place at the moment and we ask people to respect staff, volunteers and each other as they return.” From today, users of libraries at Biddulph, Burntwood, Burton, Cannock, Codsall, Kidsgrove, Leek, Lichfield, Newcastle, Perton, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone, Tamworth, Uttoxeter and Wombourne can browse shelves subject to certain conditions, use the ‘order and collect’ service and book study space, or a PC and access printing. Books will still be quarantined after handling, and social distancing and the requirement to wear masks still applies. And it’s expected that opening hours will increase after the next planned decrease in lockdown regulations on May 17th. The mobile library service will also return to rural roads from today, with the two specialist vehicles offering an ‘order and collect’ service at a limited number of stops. Almost all Staffordshire’s 27 Community Managed Libraries are offering a service now, with the remaining few opening within the fortnight. The county council is working with all 27 to help with interpreting guidance, putting arrangements in place and supporting volunteers. Users should check directly with them about opening times. The latest information about the general library service can be found here and the revised Mobile Library timetable can be found here. Weddings at Staffordshire’s Register offices are now permitted with up to 15 in attendance, while people can visit the offices for birth registrations and to give notice of marriage. More details can be found here. Council-owned country parks are already open for recreation or exercise with Government rules limiting outdoor meetings to six people or two households. Cannock Chase Visitor Centre will reopen from today (12th April), and Chasewater Visitor Centre will reopen next Monday, 19th April.Visitors are reminded to observe social distancing and park considerately. Toilets will remain open, subject to contractor availability. Children’s Centres have been opening their doors for childcare and medical appointments and will now begin the phased reintroduction of Early Years activities for 0-to-fives, which have been paused. Household waste recycling centres across the county continue to operate with social distancing in force and visitors expected to wear masks and gloves. Staff cannot help users carry heavy objects and given the reduced number of people that can be on site at any time, the advice remains to postpone your visit if possible. Full advice is available here. From this week Staffordshire Record Office reopens to the public from 10am to 4pm Tuesdayto Friday, and from 9am to 1pm every third Saturday. Social distancing will remain in place and appointments must be booked in advance. Helen Riley added: “I know from feedback that people appreciate the efforts so far to provide services in these difficult times and staff are delighted to begin expanding services once again where possible.”


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