ST. GEORGE — The Washington County Library System is set to gradually reopen beginning Friday.
“It’s a slow reopening,” Library System Director Joel Tucker said. “Just come in and get your stuff in the beginning.”
The county library will open levels of access over the next three weeks in a three-tiered process if all goes as planned, Tucker said.
The first tier will run from this Friday to May 8 and will include regular business hours with limited access.
Patrons will be able to go inside, browse materials and check out items. Library officials are asking patrons to keep interactions with others limited while also keeping visits to the library no longer than 15 minutes.
Social distancing, masks and other flu prevention measures are also highly encouraged.
While patrons are not required to wear masks, library staff will until further notice, Tucker said. They will also clean high-use areas.
The decision by the county to reopen the library follows a pattern of similar reopenings across the county and the state as Gov. Gary Herbert moves the state from a level of high to moderate risk for COVID-19 starting Friday. The Washington County Commission also announced its intent to reopen the county earlier this week.
“As we work with our local health department and follow the guidelines of our governor and the president, we are looking to move forward to opening the doors,” Tucker said. “We’re thinking this is the right decision at this time.”
With the phased reopening of the library, the curbside service offered during its closure will come to an end. People can still reserve their books for pick-up, but they will now have to walk into the library to get them, Tucker said.
The second phase of access to the library will open starting May 8 and will include increased access to other resources.
According a press release from the county, meeting rooms can be scheduled for small groups that can maintain effective social distancing. Computers can be scheduled for limited use, with preference given to those with the most critical need, such as filling out job applications, working on school assignments and other official use. Gaming is not allowed during limited operations. Newspapers, magazines and chairs will be redeployed.
The goal should be about an hour maximum visit at this phase.
Complete access to the library is set to take place May 15. Full access to meeting rooms and computers will be given, and library programs will also be available. The various makerspaces at certain county libraries will also be reopened at this time.
In a statement from Washington County Commissioner Dean Cox, he called the libraries “wonderful facilitators for learning, creativity, and personal growth for our thriving community.”
“We are excited to re-open them in a safe manner as quickly as possible.”
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