Calderdale Council is closing a large number of its public leisure and culture venues for at least 12 weeks, in response to the strengthened national advice on limiting social contact to reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
From 5pm on Friday 20 March 2020, all Council-run sports and leisure centres and museums, the Victoria Theatre and the Shay Stadium will close for 12 weeks initially, but this will be reviewed as the situation develops.
The Council’s libraries service will still be running, but some smaller libraries will be closed to support social distancing advice and to allow the Council to deploy staff effectively. Please check www.calderdale.gov.uk for details of which libraries will be closed.
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, said: “Protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities and staff is our highest priority. These are unprecedented times and we need to ensure both community resilience and reduced risk to people.
“We continue to rigorously follow national advice in our response to COVID-19. Due to the further social distancing measures announced by Government on Monday 16 March, including avoiding public buildings such as theatres and restaurants, we have decided to close our key public venues until further notice to help reduce the spread of the virus.
“This is one of numerous actions we are taking as part of our ongoing response. At our Cabinet meeting on Monday 16 March we announced a 10-point plan detailing how the Council will respond to the risks related to COVID-19.
“I would like to thank our communities for their patience, kindness and resilience, and our staff who are working tirelessly.
“We’re reviewing all of our services to make sure we do the best for Calderdale. As the situation develops we will continue to adapt and we will keep people updated.”
The buildings which will close from 5pm on Friday 20 March are:
· All Council-run sports and leisure centres – that’s Brighouse Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre, Halifax Swimming Pool, North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax, Sowerby Bridge Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre, Todmorden Sports Centre, Queens Road Gym and Mixenden Activity Centre. No public activities will be taking place in any of these buildings, including school swimming lessons. All Direct Debit payments for memberships will be suspended for the closure period. For members who have paid cash in advance, their membership will be extended by the length of the closure period.
· All Council-run museums – that’s Shibden Hall (@ShibdenHall) and Bankfield Museum (@BankfieldMuseum) in Halifax, Heptonstall Museum and Smith Art Gallery in Brighouse. Following Government advice, the planned Anne Lister birthday celebration events will no longer be going ahead, to help slow the spread of the virus. It is hoped that events will be rescheduled later in the year to commemorate Anne’s contribution to society. Follow #ALBC2020 on Twitter for more information.
· The Victoria Theatre, Halifax – for details of cancelled and postponed events, refunds and other updates, please visit www.victoriatheatre.co.uk/visit/booking/covid19 and follow @VicTheatre on Twitter and Victoria Theatre Halifax on Facebook.
· The Shay Stadium, Halifax – all FC Halifax Town football matches and Halifax Rugby League Club games have already been cancelled, but as the venue is also used for other functions and meetings, it will also be closing to the public for these purposes.
The library service will continue in the Council’s Hub and larger community libraries, but there will be changes in how it operates. Libraries provide an important service for the public, such as free access to the internet, but this will be balanced with taking into account the national advice on social distancing to protect staff and library users. The Home Library Service is currently continuing as normal – anyone who is unable to get to a library can sign up for this service online or by calling 01422 288060 / 288062.
The Council’s Customer First service in Halifax, Todmorden and Brighouse will continue to operate as normal to support residents. Some changes to service delivery have been made to protect staff and customers, so please support the Council with this. If you, or someone you live with, have any symptoms of COVID-19, meaning you need to stay at home, please do not attend but contact the Council online at www.calderdale.gov.uk or on 01422 288001.
Waste collections in Calderdale are currently continuing as normal. The Council is closely monitoring the situation and will keep residents updated with any changes.
Council-run markets remain open. Please support Calderdale’s market traders and shop locally if you are able – but only visit if you are feeling well. Extra hand sanitising facilities are available in all Council markets – please use them and wash your hands often. The Council will, of course, keep the situation under review in light of developments and will keep all traders and the public updated should the situation change.
To protect the health and safety of customers and staff, the Register Office in Halifax is limiting the number of people present at registration appointments to a maximum of two. If you, or someone you live with, have any symptoms of COVID-19 / are staying at home, please do not attend your appointment and contact the Register Office for further advice. Details on birth and death registrations, marriage and civil partnership notices / ceremonies, ordering certificates, and contact details are available at www.calderdale.gov.uk
For updates on closures and other information, follow the Council’s social media: @Calderdale on Twitter, and Calderdale Council on Facebook, and visit www.calderdale.gov.uk
Staff who work in the buildings which are being closed will be undertaking essential work or redeployed to other services across the Council, to ensure business continuity and resilience.
The Council looks forward to welcoming people back to its facilities as soon as possible. In the meantime, try to stay as active as you can. For example, go for a walk around the block on your lunch break if you're working from home. Being active is great for lifting your spirits during this extremely challenging time. However, always bear in mind the Public Health England guidelines on social distancing. These are measures that everyone is strongly advised to take to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
· Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include a high temperature and / or a new and continuous cough.
· Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.
· Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information.
· Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs.
· Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as the phone, internet and social media.
· Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
These measures to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with people are particularly important if you:
· are over 70;
· have an underlying health condition;
· are pregnant.
If you live alone and you have symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature and / or a new and continuous cough), however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of COVID-19, you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For more information visit the Official stay at home guidance.
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