Libraries, community centres and tourist parks reopen next week
Wollongong City Council will make further changes to our services from next week as we continue to reopen more of our frontline operations to the community.
From Monday 18 October;
- Our libraries will open with a click and collect service in operation, which is available to all residents. Staff will be at libraries’ entrances to support residents to pick up reserved items. The libraries themselves will remain closed to browsing and reading for the time being.
- Our pools, which are already open and have a “book your swim” system in place, will support the start of swim school and Learn to Swim classes. The classes will work in with the existing booking system, to allow for continued access to pools by the whole community within permitted capacities. Note, anyone over 16 years of age must also be fully vaccinated (two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine) to swim at our pools. You will need to show proof of vaccination to enter.
- Our tourist parks will open to vaccinated visitors including annual site holders.
- Our Community Facilities will reopen to regular hirers. Individual hirers will be responsible for developing an approved COVID-safe plan and meeting the requirements within it.
- Bookings will open for Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres on Monday for swim squads, lap swimming and rehabilitation, tennis and squash, as well as gym and group exercise classes. Sessions will kick off on Tuesday 19 October as the centres reopen with reduced hours.The athletics track will also reopen. Note, all patrons over 16 years of age must show on entry to either leisure centre that they are fully vaccinated (two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine). Masks must also be worn by all customers aged 12 years and over throughout both centres, including when entering and while exercising (unless swimming). Bookings are essential for group exercise and pool use and can be made from Monday 18 October through the Leisure Centre’s website (wollongong.nsw.gov.au/leisurecentres)
- Wollongong Art Gallery, which is usually closed on a Monday, will reopen on Tuesday 19 October. Any visitor to the Gallery over 16 years of age must also be fully vaccinated (two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine) to enter and will need to show proof of vaccination.
“I know this news will be welcomed by many in our community who have been looking forward to some sense of normality returning,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery said.
“It is exciting to see these changes coming through and I have no doubt that there will be some eager readers ready to get their book fix as soon as possible.
“It is important to note that these changes are not necessarily a return to the service levels of pre-COVID. There are changes in place, like needing to book your 45-minute swim at one of Council’s supervised pools, and not being able to wander into the library and peruse the shelves, that our community need to follow. It’s essential we continue to be cautious and sensible as we open back up.’’
Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said the changes to service levels will continue to be reviewed, and further opportunities to increase capacity and access to pools, libraries and the leisure centres will be looked at.
“We’ve been cautious throughout this process and looked closely at the Public Health Order and how it can be best applied to support our community – particularly before our Local Government Area had hit the 70 per cent fully vaccinated mark,’’ he said.
“We’re here for our community and while Council has continued its diverse operations during the lockdown period, it is pleasing to be able to open up more of our frontline services once again.
“I would like to thank our residents for their support at this time and acknowledge Council’s staff who continue to put our community first. The Public Health Order is a dense document and since the start of the current Delta variant outbreak on 18 June there have been 75 variations to these Orders that Council staff have had to review, understand and apply.
“We will continue to follow the latest advice from NSW Health and the NSW State Government to ensure we’re putting the most appropriate measures in place for our community.’’
Further details about the libraries’ click and collect program, and Beaton Park and Lakeside Leisure Centres’ operations will be available over the coming days on their websites as the plans are finalised ahead of Monday’s reopening.