secretary@essexlibdems.org.uk
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Chelmsford City Council closes its non-essential venues

March 20, 2020 7:31 PM
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats

Chris Took at Swimathon 2015 (Yellow Cap, obviously)In light of the global situation and following the closure of Chelmsford City Theatres, Chelmsford City Council has closed its sports and leisure centres, museums and the Hylands House buildings with immediate effect - but essential services are still running as normal.

All four leisure centres* are closed from the end of Friday 20 March. All direct debits for Wellness, Swim School, Skate School, Sports School and Patch memberships will be automatically frozen during the closure and members will be given advance notice when the centres re-open. Anyone who has booked a course, party or other activity will be refunded automatically.

Chelmsford Museum and Sandford Mill are also closing tonight until further notice. Anyone who has bought a ticket for an upcoming event will be contacted to arrange a refund. The Government has said that people who are socially distancing (but not ill) can still go out for exercise, so Oaklands Park remains open.

Hylands Park and other green open spaces also remain open as normal, along with children's playgrounds. However, forthcoming events and open days at Hylands House are being postponed or in some cases cancelled until further notice. The Stables public toilets remain open with extra cleaning and the Stables Café will serve takeaway only from the patio area, but the Artist Studios are not open to general visitors.

In the interests of the Council's customers, particularly the most vulnerable, the main offices at the Civic Centre in Duke Street are remaining open. Reception staff are keeping more distance than usual across the front desk and where possible customers are asked to use two phones which have been installed in the reception area. These are being cleaned after each use with disposable anti-bacterial wipes. To help the service to remain open for those who need it most, customers are asked to contact the Council by phone on 01245 606606 or through the website wherever possible.

All other essential services, including waste collections and housing advice, are currently operating as normal.

Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said, "These decisions were not taken lightly. Exercise and learning are really important for the physical and mental health of our residents. We were keen not to act too soon and only remove these services once it became necessary. However, with schools around the country closing from today, and those in high-risk groups asked to self-isolate, we believe that now is the responsible time to act."

Nick Eveleigh, Chief Executive, added, "We want to help everyone who is doing the right thing and socially distancing yourselves for a while, so our teams are working hard as I speak to find ways to bring our leisure and museum services to you. Please follow us on social media or join our mailing lists for updates."

For all the latest updates and news from the City Council, follow @ChelmsCouncil on Facebook and Twitter or join the mailing lists at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/mailinglist. You can also check for updates on particular services at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Friday 20 March 2020