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Leader statement: Re-opening council services and facilities

Council staff have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks and months to make sure some council-owned services and facilities can safely reopen to the public.

However, sometimes it's just not safe to do so and the council has to do what's right for Wirral - even if government guidance says otherwise. 

Cllr Pat Hackett, Leader of the council, said: "We would like to thank people for their patience and understanding whilst we prepare to reopen local facilities that have been closed on public safety grounds as a result of the pandemic.

"Government guidance provides advice on what services can reopen and from what date. However, as with many private sector businesses we will only open when we the time is right for Wirral. Speed cannot be our only consideration at this time. 

"The health, and the safety of our communities, businesses and staff has to be our top priority during this process, as well as continuing to deliver essential services to those who need our support the most. 

"We are making decisions day by day about which non-essential services may be able to return, but we have to balance this with the need to maintain essential services, while at the same time following guidance from Public Health for the protection of our residents and staff against infection from coronavirus.

"We are keeping watch on the infection rate in Wirral. We have to do everything in our power to avoid increases in the infection rates and fatalities. This means we have to make decisions that are fully thought through and manageable.

"Some of our staff may not be readily available to re-establish their service. Apart from the fact that we have some staff who are having to shield to keep themselves safe, a number of others have been working on priority services while their own areas were temporarily closed, such as the emergency food hub and resident helpline. 

"We can’t, and indeed we won’t, take a staff member away from a service supporting vulnerable people until we can ensure there is someone else to step in. 

"We are a public service – in fact we’re a collection of wide-ranging public services. We cannot operate in the same way as private clubs or businesses as we have a greater responsibility for public safety. 

"We know many of you are keen to get back to those services you regularly use, we appreciate this, and we promise we are doing our best.

"As soon as we have details for reopening a service we will let you know through our social media channels and revised signage on site. 

"For now our play areas, outdoor gyms, museums and galleries, theatre and libraries remain closed." 

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