CHICAGO (CBS) — Staff at Chicago’s public libraries are returning to work on May 20 with the goal of opening to patrons on June 1, although no date as been officially set.
All public library buildings, which briefly stayed open during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, were eventually closed.
“Absolutely no date has been set to open libraries to the public, and any re-opening decision would be consistent with public health guidance and dependent on where our data is at that time,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. The Chicago Tribune first reported that the city plans to reopen libraries on June 1. The Illinois stay at home order runs until the end of May.
Staff will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment and facilities will accommodate social distancing requirements to ensure the safety of all employees after they return to work, the city said.
Much of the prep work will be focused on transforming physical spaces and services once the libraries reopen to ensure the health and safety of patrons and staff. Among those changes, a requirement that patrons wear face masks, limitations on shared computer usage and number of people allowed inside, and a ban on using meeting rooms. Items returned to libraries will also be temporarily isolated.
In a letter to libarary staff, Commissioner Andrea Telli said operating hours are still to be determined.