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Museum and Leisure services to reopen following temporary closure

Published: Friday, 14th January 2022

Leisure services across the city, Gladstone Museum and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery are opening again following a temporary closure to provide coronavirus support for services across the city.

Some leisure services and the museums and have been closed since Christmas Eve to allow staff to volunteer for redeployment, supporting essential services provided by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, as Covid-19 cases were rising rapidly.

Staff were redeployed to assist with waste services, adult social care, contact tracing and supporting the vaccination rollout across Stoke-on-Trent. A number of staff will voluntarily remain redeployed whilst the phased reopening takes place.

Cllr Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said:

“At the moment, our city still has a high number of Covid-19 cases, but thankfully, it looks like the infection rates in the city may be starting to slow down.

“Following a review of the redeployment of staff to critical service areas, a position has been reached that will now allow museums and leisure services to reopen.

“I am so very proud of all the city council staff, they have been hugely supportive during the pandemic in keeping our essential and frontline services running efficiently.

“I would also like to thank the people of Stoke-on-Trent for their continued support and understanding, which has proved invaluable during the challenges of this pandemic.

“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe is our number one priority, and we have put safety measures in place at the museums and the leisure centres to ensure that everyone can adhere to the Covid-19 national guidance.”

Cllr Lorraine Beardmore, Cabinet member for Culture, Leisure & Public Health at Stoke-on-Trent City Council said:

“We’re very much looking forward to being able to reopen our leisure services centres and museums and welcoming everyone back again.

“It is very important to give people the opportunity to resume activity and exercise in their leisure centre, particularly during these winter months, and this will go a long way to maintaining the good health of our local communities.

“We know how important physical exercise is for people’s overall health and wellbeing and so the reopening of leisure services is good news for all.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone back safely to our museums and leisure services, and thank them for their patience.

“There are some spectacular events coming up throughout this year, and one of the first will be at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on Sunday 6 February, as the city welcomes in the Chinese New Year.

“2022 is the Year of the Tiger, and the museum is set to host a celebratory event of traditional music and dance including Unicorn, Dragon and Lion dance performances. Other activities include Chinese craft workshops, firecrackers, acrobatics and much more. It’s free for everyone, and will run from 11am - 5pm.”

To keep everyone safe, visitors are reminded to wear face coverings inside these venues and retain social distancing.          

Covid safety precautions such as hand sanitiser and social distancing floor markings will be in place where necessary. The reopening of the city museums will include the final galleries at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery which have remained closed as essential maintenance work was undertaken in late 2021 and follows on from the phased reopening of leisure services which began earlier this week, on Monday 10 January.

Gladstone Pottery Museum opened again yesterday and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery will reopen on Monday 17 January.

Leisure services across the city continue with the phased opening, with the revised swimming pools timetable from Monday 17 January and Gymnastic Centre set to reopen again on Tuesday 18 January.

Libraries across the city and the Local Centres at Stoke and Longton will remain closed for a further week with staff continuing to help carry out the critical tasks of contact tracing and checks with vulnerable individuals affected by coronavirus.

Online services will continue to be available including the ‘click, call and collect’ service, which are being used well across the city.