Portsmouth playgrounds, libraries and museums could open on July 4, if it is 'safe to do so'

PLAYGROUNDS, libraries and museums in Portsmouth will re-open 'as soon as it is safe to do so' following the government's latest announcement.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 2:37 pm
Playgrounds in Portsmouth could open on July 4 if it is made safe. Pictured is Landport Playpark in 2019. 
Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (190108-2094)
Playgrounds in Portsmouth could open on July 4 if it is made safe. Pictured is Landport Playpark in 2019. Picture by: Malcolm Wells (190108-2094)

After Boris Johnson revealed the hospitality sector would be re-opening on July 4 the green light was also given to facilities such as playgrounds, community centres, outdoor gyms, libraries and museums to open.

He also stipulated that the two metre social distancing rule would be reduced to one metre on that date.

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Museums including the D-Day Story in Southsea will open 'as soon as it is safe to do so'. Picture: Matthew Scott-Joynt

Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said that Portsmouth City Council would work to make sure its facilities are 'safe' before opening them.

'I'm sure we will continue to follow the government's advice on when things can open,' he said.

'But we will have to work to make sure everything is safe before they do.

'I think playgrounds have been a particular problem for people as they've wanted to take their kids out. The problem is if you touch something you might leave germs there for somebody else.

'We are also going to have to work out how museums and libraries can open, they might have to have a one-way system in place like in shops. It's all about keeping people safe.'

Portsmouth City Council's deputy leader and culture boss, Councillor Steve Pitt, said: 'We have been making preparations so we were ready for the government's decision. Now we know the rule has been changed to one metre we will be working on plans for re-opening as soon as it is safe to do so.

'We will be re-opening the museums but we can't know exactly when that will be because it can only happen once we can be sure we are opening in a Covid safe way.

'Also some museum staff have been furloughed so it will take time to get them back and work and briefed on all the Covid safe measures that will need to be in place.'

As part of the announcement the prime minister ruled that indoor gyms and leisure facilities, including the part council-run Pyramids Centre in Southsea, would remain closed.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: 'Things do have to be done safely and sensibly. How would you be able to keep kids apart in the swimming pool?

'Right now we just have to focus on keeping people safe.'

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