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Libraries are back open in Crawley

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Libraries in West Sussex have welcomed residents back inside their buildings today (Monday 17 August) for the first time since they were forced to close earlier this year.

All 36 libraries are now open for people to browse the shelves, but the number of visitors allowed in the buildings at any one time will be limited to allow for social distancing. 

New safety measures are in place at all libraries and any returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are available for others to borrow. 

Reduced opening hours will still be in place at all libraries for the foreseeable future, but the aim is to gradually increase them over time.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said:

“All of our libraries across the county have been open for a wonderful service called ‘Select and Collect’ since the beginning of July, which has allowed local staff to deliver a much needed library offer to all of their users, but since then they have been working on plans to get the library buildings open for more services as quickly and as safely as possible.

“The steps they have put in place to open up browsing to limited numbers has taken a lot of thought and effort from the entire library service, but we hope that you will now take this opportunity to come and choose from the full range of library stock.” 

During July, the ‘Select and Collect’ service proved very popular, with an average of 1,300 reservations placed each day. 

It will remain in place for customers wishing to reserve specific items, and those who would like a member of staff to choose for them so that they can minimise their time in the library.

Each library will also be offering a limited IT service, either during browsing times or in a separate session. 

These one-hour sessions will need to be booked in advance either by phoning or visiting your local library. 

You can find information about current opening times and available services on the library website www.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries or by contacting your local library. 

Coronavirus

BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus cases jump 200% in one week across Crawley

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On Monday 14th Sept the new “rule of six” comes into force across England with news breaking today that children under 12 will not be exempt from it.

The new rules mean people are limited to meeting in groups no larger than six people both indoors and outdoors.

The rule ‘could’ potentially be coming slightly too late as new figures for Crawley reveal a 200% jump in recorded cases in just one week.

People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital

Data from the UK public health bodies shows that in last week (2nd – 8th Sept) there were 15 NEW cases reported in Crawley. This number does not seem a lot but when compared to the week(s) before it shows a dramatic jump.

In only the previous week there were only 5 new cases reported, with 4 separate days reporting no cases at all.

But in the past week this figure jumped with 8 reported in one day alone.

So far the worst single day for reported cases in Crawley was back on the 28th April when 19 cases were reported in a day.

To date, since recording began there have been 502 cases, with 77 of these resulting in death.

As more parts of the UK are also having to deal with stricter lock down restrictions Crawley remains below the national average of cases per 100,000 at 13. The national average is currently 18.

The towns neighbour, Horsham, saw an even greater rise of 360% with 23 cases reported between 2-8 Sept.

Across the UK an additional 3.497 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, an increase of 36% on the same day a week ago, taking the total to 365,174.

A local doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said her and her colleagues were very worried about how too many people were downplaying the risk of infection.

“I hear every day some people talking about how the number of people in hospital through Covid are so low so we shouldn’t worry about the number of cases increasing – but we should. People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital.”

But questions on how the new rules will be enforced are still not clear with new statements released from the Police that talk about ‘engaging, encouraging and explaining’ before even considering taking any action.

A source close to Sussex Police has told Crawley News 24 that there is both confusion and dismay within the ranks about who and how officers are going to contend with issues of larger groups than allowed meeting up, while juggling the increase of daily issues that are returning since the full lockdown.

Another source said they were awaiting a full outline of what powers the police really will have on Monday (14th Sept) before officers would be given full guidance on what they should do.

Sussex Police told Crawley News 24:

“As we start to see a rise in infections it is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Everyone has a role to play limiting the outbreak by following the regulations, including those about gatherings which will be limited to six people both indoors and outside when the new legislation comes into force on Monday 14 September.

People need to take personal responsibility for their actions, in particular during this heath emergency, and this includes adhering to the latest government guidance.

Sussex Police will continue its approach of engaging, encouraging and explaining the current regulations and only taking enforcement action when necessary. “

Only 1 week after schools reopen, a couple of weeks after a house party alarmed residents in the town, (and Crawley Council confirming they were investigating the event), and new rules coming into force, all eyes will now be set to see just how well the town responds to the new measures and whether the rise is just a ‘blip’ or if it is a sign of a returning rise.

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