CUMBRIA County Council has announced a string of improved Covid safety measures, ahead of the reopening of several local libraries.

This follows the reopening of the county council’s six main libraries including Barrow in August.

And now after careful preparation plans are in place to reopen an additional 12 branch libraries across the county on Wednesday, October 21.

These include Roose Library, Millom Library, Grange Library, Ulverston Library, Windermere Library and Ambleside Library.

To protect the health and safety of library staff and customers, new Covid-secure measures are in place at all libraries that are open to staff and / or the public.

Key changes include:

• Hand sanitiser stations are located at entrances and exits and customers are advised to use them.

• Signage and floor markings are in place to promote two metre social distancing and to help people find their way around safely.

• Customers are required to wear face coverings unless an exemption applies and library staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment.

• Access to each library and its computers will be limited at first to allow library staff to safely manage the number of visitors.

• Toilets and baby-changing facilities are temporarily closed to the public.

• Fines incurred during temporary closure will be waived until December 31, so customers don’t have to worry about returning overdue items immediately.

• Any returned books, including those borrowed before lockdown, will be quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation.

Cllr Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Local Communities, said: “We have worked hard to ensure that all of our libraries are COVID-safe, with the highest standards of hygiene and customer care.

"We have committed significant investment and made extensive alterations to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.

“We feel that at the current time, the support and wellbeing of our communities is key – libraries have a key role to play – and this is why we have made the decision to open a selection of local branch libraries for the benefit of our customers.

“The county council’s Public Health experts have also confirmed that our libraries are extremely low risk environments and that the council has carried out all the necessary work to make them COVID safe spaces.”