MORE libraries are to reopen in west Cheshire this August, while face coverings will be required for visitors from Saturday (August 8).

A number of public toilets and all pavilions in the borough will also be reopened.

The facilities, run by Cheshire West and Chester Council, were all closed in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some libraries were able to reopen in July, starting with Storyhouse in Chester operating with its usual opening hours.

Libraries in Ellesmere Port, Neston, Northwich and Winsford opened their doors from Monday, July 13 with reduced hours in place. To ensure safety, the number of people allowed inside at any one time has been limited.

Following the successful opening of the first sites, a further five libraries will now open.

Helsby, Lache, Little Sutton, Sandiway and Upton Libraries will reopen with reduced opening hours and a limited service offer on August 10.

From August 24, Barnton, Frodsham, Great Boughton, Hope Farm and Weaverham Libraries will also reopen.

Planning is under way to reopen Blacon library (co-located with Avenue Services) as soon as possible.

As well as this, a number of public toilets will be reopened, while all council-run pavilions will reopen on August 19.

Councillor Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: "Our libraries have already welcomed 18,640 visits across five sites since July 13 which is great news.

"By reopening our libraries in stages, we can ensure all of the safety precautions are in place and working effectively. Test and trace systems are in place in libraries, archives and museums.

"Customers are being greeted on arrival and contact information including name, telephone number and time of arrival are being noted, which will be held for 21 days.

"From August 8, face coverings will be required when entering our libraries, archives and museums following the latest Government legislation. This is something we are encouraging people to do now where possible.

"Reopening the remaining libraries in Hoole, Malpas, Tarporley, Tarvin, Tattenhall, Wharton and the mobile libraries has raised some operational challenges.

"We are exploring whether an alternative service, such as order and collect, can be offered safely for customers of these sites."

Library services including events and activities, room bookings, partner use of buildings and the Home Library Service will continue to be reviewed to understand when they are safe to resume.

Currently all library loans are renewed until September 1 the reservation service is temporarily suspended. The reinstatement of overdue charges and reservations will be reviewed by September.

Since opening, customers have returned 23,436 items and borrowed 16,782 items. Libraries have been operating safely with new layouts and social distancing, health and safety procedures have been maintained throughout.

Further council-run services will be reopening in August.

All pavilions will be prepared to reopen on August 19:

• Panton Road Pavilion.

• Alexandra Park (currently an improvement scheme is taking place)

• Grosvenor Park Activity Zone.

• Stocks Lane/Cherry Grove Bowling Pavilion

• Westminster Park main Pavilion

• Westminster Park fine turf Pavilion

• Netherpool changing rooms

• Whitby Park Old Pavilion

• Whitby Park new pavilion

• George Street Bowling.

• Little Sutton Bowling.

• Saltworks Changing rooms

• Castle Park Tennis Pavilion.

• Castle Park support room

The following public conveniences are due to open on August 21:

• Malpas

• Tarporley High Street

• Frodsham

• Neston

• Farndon Picnic Area

• Shakerley Mere

• Hadlow Road

• Little Budworth

Following discussions between Brio Leisure and the Council's Public Health team, the sports hall at Frodsham Leisure Centre will open in line with Frodsham Library, which shares the site, during the week beginning August 24.

Other parts of the leisure centre will not reopen due to the layout and nature of the building. This is to ensure the safety of customers and staff members.

Detail of the services that will be available in the sports hall are under development.