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A total of 14,000 library books have been out on loan in Argyll and Bute since lockdown measures were introduced, the charity in charge has revealed.
Live Argyll, which manages libraries and leisure facilities in the area, initiated a phased return to service on Monday allowing users to start returning books at town libraries at designated times.
Oban library will open for returns only on Mondays: 9.30am-12.30 and 1-4pm and Fridays: 9.30am-1pm.
It has also set out its ‘route map’ for coming out of lockdown measures, with a staged plan for the return of other services.
From Monday August 24 organised adult groups will be permitted to hire sports pitches, within Scottish Government guidelines. Organised children’s groups are already able to do so.
The next stage is planned for Monday September 14 pending Government guidance – and includes the reopening of gyms, fitness centres and swimming pools.
Gyms will initially be open to members only, while pools will be lane swimming only. Indoor, outdoor and online fitness classes will take place.
It is also hoped that events and community venues, indoor school lets and soft play facilities will be able to resume from Monday September 14, but this is also pending Government guidance.
Further stages towards coming out of lockdown are planned for leisure facilities and libraries in October and November.
A statement from Live Argyll said: ‘We are pleased to report that we have started re-introducing a small number of services.
‘Our outdoor pitches are now available for hire to organised children’s groups and our Active Schools team have returned to work to prepare for the start of the new school term to support the health and well-being of our pupils.
‘We are grateful to sportscotland for their continued financial support of the Active Schools programme.
‘We have also been given an indicative opening date for our leisure facilities of September 14 and we are awaiting further national guidance on indoor community bookings, lets and events which may also be permitted to reopen from this date.
‘We were hoping to begin our phased reopening of our leisure facilities within weeks however this will now not be possible.’
Live Argyll hopes to increase fitness facility opening hours and the number of fitness classes from Monday October 12, and introduce a swimming lesson programme and children’s fitness facilities at least a week later. However, these, too, are dependent on Government guidance.
A part-time click-and-collect service is planned to resume in libraries during the week commencing Monday September 14, while restricted physical reopening arrangements could resume during the week commencing Monday October 5.
During the week commencing Monday November 2, a return to full service arrangements, including part-time and island libraries, is planned.