WENATCHEE — The 30 branches in NCW Libraries system will reopen to in-person visits starting Tuesday, after Monday’s President’s Day holiday.
The reopening follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement Thursday that the North Central region is moving to Phase 2 of the Healthy Roadmap to Recovery Plan.
NCW Libraries, with branches in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, Grant and Ferry counties, has been closed to in-person visits since Jan. 20 because of COVID-19 concerns.
“We’re very excited to open to the public again,” said Bill Carroll, NCW Libraries director of branch operations. “We will be open for limited hours like we were prior to this latest closure.”
Carroll said reopening to the public won’t require too much preparation.
“We had a really good plan in place the last time we opened so we are just duplicating that plan. Of course, (we will be) enforcing the 25% capacity levels in all of our branches,” Carroll said. “Our staff is ready to be there during those open times starting on Tuesday.”
Library patrons must wear masks and keep a 6-foot social distance. Carroll said they are asking patrons to quickly come in and conduct their business to check their items in or out.
Patrons also must adhere to a 30-minute time limit on library branch computers.
“Use of computers is quite popular. We have several things in play to mitigate risks between shared computers. We have disposable covers for keyboards. We have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes,” he said.
There are also fewer computers compared to pre-COVID times due to social distancing.
During the recent shutdown, Carroll said NCW Libraries saw an increase in demand for mail order library services. Staff also fielded many phone calls and did a fair bit of curbside delivery, he said.
A couple seasonal staff members did not work during the shutdown, but Carroll said they are asking them to come back, if they are available. No regular employees were laid off.
Hours of operation will vary at the 30 library locations, he said, and is available at ncrl.com