Coronavirus pandemic: Parkes Shire libraries, visitor centres and pools close

TO CLOSE: Parkes Shire Council will discontinue public access to its libraries across the shire from 5pm today.
TO CLOSE: Parkes Shire Council will discontinue public access to its libraries across the shire from 5pm today.

Parkes Shire Council has decided to close its libraries and pools across the shire, and the Parkes Visitor Information Centre, in response to the increasing risk of the coronavirus.

These facilities will close after today, with the visitor centre shutting its doors at 4pm, shire libraries from 5pm and the pools at 7pm.

Services can still be accessed online however, and by phone.

"We have made the difficult decision to discontinue public access to the Parkes Shire libraries from 5pm today," Parkes' Cultural, Education and Library Services Manager Kerryn Jones said.

"Commencing tomorrow there will be a revised level of service available and all programs, activities and face-to-face borrowing will be suspended until further notice."

These measures unfortunately impact the shire's highly anticipated Waste 2 Art competition, which its exhibition was due to run from April 20 to May 16, and entries being accepted up until April 14.

"Please accept my sincere apologies as I know many people have already started and even completed their art work," Ms Jones said.

"Unfortunately at this time there was no other decision we could make."

Ms Jones is welcoming and inviting any artists who have already completed their Waste 2 Art work to post photos of their work on the new Parkes Shire Arts Advisory Facebook page.

"You can also continue to access our range of online library resources at any time from the library section on the Parkes Shire Council website, and our friendly library staff are available to connect with via phone, email or social media as per normal operating hours," she said.

With the evolving situation of COVID-19, council is continuing to take precautions to ensure staff members, the community and visitors are safe.

It's for this reason council has decided to limit visitor access to the Henry Parkes Centre on the Newell Highway, but visitor services will be available online and via phone calls.

"The doors to our Visitor Information Centre will be closed as of Tuesday, March 24, 4pm," council said in a statement.

"There will be staff to answer emails and phone calls during normal operating hours, however we are taking appropriate precautions to limit face-to-face interactions."

The end to the swimming season has been brought forward to the end of today.

"Thank you to everyone who visited the Parkes Shire Pools during the summer season, we hope you all enjoyed your time at our local aquatic centres," council said.

"It is unfortunate the pool season is coming to a sudden end, however the measures put in place are to protect the health and well-being of our staff and community."

Meanwhile the CSIRO Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre building has also been closed until further notice.

It means the annual Family Night Under the Blue Dish, that brings awareness to World Autism Awareness Month, has been cancelled this year.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo will also close on March 25.

You can follow our live blog that brings the latest updates from around the Western region on the coronavirus pandemic.


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