Coronavirus: Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and libraries closed

Sunderland City Council has announced its decision to close of a number of venues due to Covid-19.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 1:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 5:43 pm

These are Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland Library, Washington Town Centre Library, Houghton Library, Schools Library Service, the Arts Centre Washington and the Local History Library.

A statement from the council read: “The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to take our lead from Public Heath England and to work closely with them and with other partners to monitor developments and communicate the latest guidance and advice to help delay the spread of the virus.

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“That is why, in line with the latest Government measures to help delay the spread of Coronavirus, we have taken the difficult decision to close Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington, Local History Library @ETR, Houghton Library, Washington Library and the City Library at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens from this Thursday 19 March for the foreseeable future.

“We are also closing Derwent Hill outdoor education centre from Monday 23 March until further notice. Anyone booked to go to Derwent Hill, who is affected by the closure will receive a refund or an offer of an alternative date in the future where possible. We will be reviewing the situation on a weekly basis and will contact clients as and when the situation improves.

“We understand that this is disappointing news and we would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and to thank our residents/communities for their ongoing support and understanding.

“The City Council is also cancelling all non-essential council meetings while it awaits further guidance from central Government on local authority decision making and compliance with statutory requirements.

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is one of the venues to temporarily close. Picture by Tim Richardson.

“While Cabinet and full Council will still go ahead next week, the council meeting’s business agenda will be limited to business critical decisions.

“We will be keeping this approach under review in light of emerging guidance and will be providing updates.

“The council is continuing to do everything it can to protect and support our communities. This includes measures to ensure business critical frontline services are prioritised in the event that resources become stretched as a result of Coronavirus.”

The council said Customer Services Centres at Houghton and Washington Libraries will remain open five days a week for essential services including homelessness, benefits and crisis support.