All three Red Deer public libraries are slated to reopen this month at reduced capacity.
The Dawe and Timberlands branches are expected to be opening first, on Monday. Their new hours of operation will be Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, Friday from noon to 5 p.m, and Saturday 10 to 3 p.m.
Downtown branch reopen on March 22 — if all goes as planned with work on the heating and air conditioning system. The opening hours will be the same as the other branches.
Red Deer Public Library CEO Shelley Ross said the last part of the new HVAC system at the branch should be installed this week, with air balancing and testing next week, so she’s hopeful the downtown library will reopen on schedule.
Red Deer Public Library officials met with Alberta Health Services staff this week. It was clarified that, although libraries are permitted to reopen, the goal is still to try to keep people at home, where they are not exposed to risk, said Ross.
“Although the importance of the public library to the community is recognized with this earlier than planned opening, the goal is access to resources, not to encourage social gathering.”
Libraries can open at 15 per cent fire code capacity, which means 22 people can be in Timberlands Branch at any one time; 82 people in Dawe, and 110 people in the downtown branch.
“In order to manage this number we encourage our patrons to come and go as quickly as possible,” said Ross. “We will enforce a one-hour maximum visit if we reach capacity and have to manage crowds.”
Patrons will continue to be encouraged to use self-check-outs and to place touched materials that will not be borrowed in bins so they can be quarantined for 72 hours.
Masks covering nose, mouth and chin must be worn at all times in the library. No food or drink is permitted. Patrons must do their best to stay two meters apart, unless they live in the same dwelling.
Ross said those who cannot or choose not to wear masks, or who do not feel safe entering the library, are welcome to continue to use curbside pick-up service.
Public libraries in Alberta were shut-down to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in mid-December.