Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has announced Council’s preparation plans to re-open facilities after the State Government gave the green light to re-open libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, BMX tracks and skate parks from midnight Friday May 15.
Under Stage One of the State Government’s road map, a maximum of 10 people a time will be allowed into libraries, with the residents expected to abide by social distancing directives and maintain strict hygiene measures.
“This is the terrific news that Brisbane residents have been keenly waiting for, but there will be some significant changes to the way our facilities operate,” Cr Schrinner said.
“Queensland Health has confirmed the 10 person limit is in addition to staff and there will be restrictions on services and residents will be only able to pick up and the drop off library books and use of the self-serve facilities.
“This will mean customers go online place a book on hold, at no cost, and then come to the library and pick it up.
“For hygiene reasons, there will be no PCs, magazines or newspapers for the time being and visitors will not be able to sit down in the seating areas to read. Obviously, community spaces and play areas will need to stay closed to satisfy State Government rules.
“Given the State Government’s directive, this is the only sensible way we can ensure our libraries open in some capacity, while also limiting the wait times for people keen to get back to their libraries.
“People should continue to take advantage of the expanded online services and home delivery of books if they want to avoid queues.”
Work is also now underway to clean more than 1000 playgrounds and outdoor gyms across the city in preparation for re-opening on Saturday.
They will all be thoroughly cleaned and undergo maintenance and safety checks, isolation tape removed, and social distancing signage erected at every site.
Council is also in the process of cleaning, testing and re-activating almost 700 barbecues at parks and reserves across the city.
“It is a mammoth logistical project to re-open our facilities, but we are ready, waiting and geared up,’’ Cr Schrinner said.
“It’s great news that we can get our city back to some semblance of normal; where we can go to the library, have a swim or a barbecue in the park or workout.
“Simple activities like playing with your dog at an off-leash park, taking a class or going to a community meeting are treasured by so many residents, and I suspect they will never be taken for granted ever again by any of us.
In late March, the State Government advised Councils to close pools, libraries, community halls, playgrounds and park facilities such as barbecues and gym equipment. As soon as this happened, we started the strategic planning on how we would get them re-opened efficiently and safely when the time came.
“This includes how long it will take to clean equipment or a facility, introducing social distancing in libraries, halls and our city hall and Council building public spaces, where events are held.
“Our project teams are mobilising quickly, we saw that with the very fast turnaround when we opened 133 dog parks across the city on Friday.
“We have also been working on how to transition 7000 staff back to work; this is a massive logistical exercise and we are looking at options to ensure social distancing is maintained, such as staggered start and finish times.
“It was a major undertaking to move thousands of people to work from home, and this has been successful in the way the staff have adapted and continued to provide essential services, such as the contact centre.
“We also have staff who have transitioned to undertaking roles such as our wonderful library team who have tirelessly worked to adapt our traditional services to online, such as virtual story time and home delivery of books and materials.
“They have also been disinfecting hundreds of thousands of books and materials returned to libraries. I am amazed and humbled by how nimble and adaptable so many staff have been in the face of unknown circumstances.
“What every one of us now has to realise is life will be different for some time yet, so we have to ensure we are ultra-vigilant and do not breach social distancing directives and people wash their hands with soap before and after leaving facilities such as our libraries, playgrounds and parks. If you can, take some hand sanitiser with you,” Cr Schrinner said.
Re-opening this Weekend
- Barbecues, playgrounds, outdoor gyms.
- BMX Tracks and Skate Parks.
- Basketball and tennis courts.
- Southbank aquatic facilities (Southbank Lagoon closed for essential maintenance until July 1)
Facilities (10 Person Limits)
- Botanic Gardens enclosed spaces
- Cemeteries and Crematorium front counters
- Community Halls (no contact activities)
For information visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au or call Council on 07 3403 8888.