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City of Melbourne announces ‘temporary closure’ of libraries and cultural and recreation centres

City of Melbourne announces ‘temporary closure’ of libraries and cultural and recreation centres
March 16, 2020

The City of Melbourne has announced that it is temporarily closing its public libraries and cultural and recreation centres from today to try to help slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus within its workforce and the community.

With Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews having announced a state of emergency this morning, six libraries and four recreation centres will close from 2pm today until Tuesday 31st March 2020, with the possibility of this closure being extended.

Visitor services offered by the City of Melbourne’s more than 400 ‘red coat’ ambassadors will also be suspended until further notice.

In addition, no permits will be issued for events of 500 people or more for the foreseeable future.

Advising that the City of Melbourne will work through other solutions to continue to provide services for our community, Lord Mayor Sally Capp stated "while none of our staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 we need to protect the safety of our staff and slow the spread of the virus within the community.

“Our libraries, recreation and cultural centres are important community meeting places so this is not a decision we take lightly.

“It is important that we rise to this challenge and work together to find the best solutions for our community. Melbourne must continue to be a caring city during this period and look out for each other wherever possible.”

The libraries to close include City Library in Flinders Lane, Kathleen Syme in Carlton, Library at The Dock in Docklands, East Melbourne, North Melbourne and Southbank Library at Boyd.

Recreation centres to close include Melbourne City Baths, Kensington Recreation Centre, Carlton Baths and North Melbourne Recreation Centre.

Arts and cultural venues to temporarily close include Meat Market, Signal, ArtPlay and Arts House. This excludes artists’ studios.

All Council’s childcare facilities will continue to operate as usual at this time.

Planning, building, waste and recycling, animal management, and parking and traffic services will also continue to operate as usual.

The Lord Mayor said the City of Melbourne was working closely with service providers to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community can still access services – particularly the elderly and rough sleepers, adding "this is a time when we need to look out for all members of our community.

Contingency plans for all council meetings to be explored, including the use of video conferencing facilities and teleconferencing.

Lord Mayor Capp “our organisation has done a significant amount of planning to ensure crucial services to the community are not severely impacted by this pandemic."

Image: Carlton Baths.

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