• Churnet Sound Newsdesk

Services support residents as lockdown restrictions ease

Staffordshire County Council services are mapping a return to opening more as lockdown restrictions ease. Libraries, household waste recycling centres and country parks are among those looking to restore services suspended or curtailed by lockdown in line with national guidance. Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “In the short term we all need to keep following the guidance to bring down the rates of transmission, but the good news is that the Government has put forward a timetable for the easing of lockdown restrictions and we are planning to expand our services as and when we can in line with that. “Council staff have worked hard through this last 12 months to carry on delivering front line services and I know they’re as keen as anyone for a return to some sort of normality.” Libraries at Burton, Cannock, Leek, Lichfield, Newcastle, Perton, Stafford and Tamworth are already open for essential PC use and ‘order and collect’ services. From Monday (8th March) libraries at Biddulph, Burntwood, Codsall, Kidsgrove, Rugeley, Stone, Uttoxeter and Wombourne will reopen to offer essential PC use and ‘order and collect’ services. Until 12th April these eight will close between 1 and 2pm. Subject to national guidance, the intention is that from 12th April libraries will gradually reintroduce services as they move towards the resumption of normal business, but users are advised to check here regularly for the latest information. Many of the county’s 27 Community Managed Libraries have been offering a restricted service and the county council will be working with them to help with interpreting guidance, putting arrangements in place and supporting volunteers. Users should check directly with them about opening times. Staffordshire’s children centres have been opening their doors for childcare and medical appointments and are now taking bookings for support groups beginning next week. Council-owned country parks also remain open for recreation or to exercise with one other person, or members of your household. Visitors are reminded to observe social distancing and park considerately. Toilets will remain open, subject to contractor availability. Household waste recycling centres across the county will still operate under the same restrictions as in recent months, 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. For the time being the Staffordshire Record Office also remains available online, however from 12thApril it will reopen to the public from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, and from 9am to 1pm every third Saturday. Social distancing will remain in place and appointments must be booked in advance. Subject to national guidance the intention would be to reopen the History Access Point at St Mary’s, Lichfield, from mid-May and, from June, look to increase capacity in offices and welcome back volunteers. If anyone has an urgent inquiry they can contactstaffordshire.record.office@staffordshire.gov.uk . Finally, Registration offices continue to operate as before, with people allowed to visit in the offices for birth registrations and to give notice of marriage. More details can be found here.

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