Durham County Council has announced details of how its services will be affected during the latest lockdown period, which began on Thursday
The council is continuously reviewing emerging government advice on how best to stop the spread of coronavirus and considering how it can maintain essential services to residents in light of this.
The council has today announced the following further changes to services based on the latest guidance:
• All council libraries are now closed until further notice. The council is working to reintroduce the pick and collect service at a limited number of libraries as soon as possible.
• All Durham County Council and 1Life-operated leisure centres in the county will close. Memberships will be frozen and all members contacted via email or text to confirm. Where direct debits have already been taken due to imminent payment dates, the subsequent month will be frozen. Annual members will have an additional month added to their membership.
• Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Durham Town Hall and Bowlees Visitor Centre are all now closed. Durham’s Gala Theatre, the Empire Theatre at Consett, Binchester Roman Fort and Killhope Lead Mining Museum which were already shut will remain closed.
• Grassroots sports and physical activity buildings, pavilions and changing rooms are now closed.
• Customer access points as well as One Point hubs and family centres will remain closed.
• Cafés at Hardwick Park and Wharton Park will be closed.
The council is prioritising essential services, including adult and children’s services, refuse collections and support for community and voluntary groups and businesses.
Household waste recycling centres will remain open.
The council’s schools remain open and following the latest government guidance.
Playgrounds, parks and allotments will remain open, with toilets in parks also open for use.
Funerals will still be able to take place under current restrictions.
Cllr Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “It is disappointing that we have had to make changes to some of our services but in the current climate unfortunately they are necessary.
“We are doing our very best to ensure the priority services we provide to our residents – particularly the most vulnerable in society such as those adults who receive social care and looked after children – are affected as little as possible by these changes.
“If we all stick to the guidance set out by government, hopefully in the next few weeks we will see reduced rates of coronavirus infections and more of our affected services will be reinstated.
“Please obey the rules during this latest lockdown period and we hope we will be able to reduce restrictions on our services in the run-up to Christmas.”
Information about how services are affected will be available on the council’s website at www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus.