Reopen for business

Maisie and Jack Kelly (Rebecca Hosking) 209107_01

By Laura Michell

Some libraries, leisure centres and community centres across Whittlesea and Hume have reopened to the public more than two months after the coronavirus pandemic forced their closure.

Stage three restrictions were eased across the state yesterday, allowing libraries, swimming pools, youth centres, galleries and community centres to reopen with 20 people permitted in a single space.

Dining-in is also back on the menu at cafes, restaurants and pubs for up to 20 patrons at a time.

Whittlesea council leisure and community facilities manager Benjamin Waterhouse said the council was pleased community centres and swimming pools could reopen.

He said the council began opening its community activity centres yesterday for services and groups it knew met “community needs” and could be “safely managed in these public spaces”.

However, swimmers will have to wait one more week before diving back into the pool, with the council delaying the reopening of the Thomastown Recreation and Aquatics Centre (TRAC) until Tuesday, June 9.

“Unfortunately, re-opening these types of facilities isn’t a case of walking in and switching on the lights,” Mr Waterhouse said.

“It requires significant work and there are many things to consider such as staffing, cleaning, and at TRAC, the installation and testing of safety and distancing equipment and procedures.”

In Hume, the council began reopening its leisure centres in stages yesterday, beginning with an outdoor fitness program.

Whittlesea bookworms are able to get their reading fix with the Lalor, Mill Park, Thomastown and Whittlesea libraries reopening for limited services including click and collect and print and collect.

The after hours chutes at the four libraries are also open. Books returned to the libraries will be quarantined for 72 hours.

Lalor, Mill Park and Thomastown libraries will be open from 10am-6pm Monday to Thursday and 10am-5pm on Fridays. Whittlesea library will be open until 5pm each day. All four libraries will close between 2pm- 3pm each day for cleaning and restocking of shelves.

More services are expected to be announced from June 29.

In Hume, the return chutes at Broadmeadows, Sunbury and Craigieburn libraries are now open.