Reopening leisure centres and libraries safely

Cllr Press

Calderdale Council is planning the safe, phased reopening of its sports and leisure facilities, and more of its libraries following the recent reopening of the Central Library and Archives in Halifax.

The health of customers, staff and the whole community remains the Council’s priority, so the reopening of venues and the new safety measures in place have been carefully planned to help protect people from COVID-19, which is still a serious risk within our communities.

In March 2020, the Council closed all of its leisure facilities and libraries in line with Government guidance, to reduce the spread of the virus.

Since then, staff have been working hard to reopen facilities as soon as possible, prioritising safety at all times and following national guidance.

To ensure the safest possible operation of sports and fitness centres, the reopenings (including tennis courts) are due to be phased as follows:

  • Brighouse Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre and Todmorden Sports Centre – from Wednesday 9 September
  • Sowerby Bridge Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre – from Wednesday 16 September

The Central Library and Archives in Halifax reopened on Tuesday 11 August 2020, with selected services available and extra safety measures in place. After risk assessments and lessons learned from the Central Library, the Council is now able to safely reopen its other Hub libraries, as follows:

  • Brighouse and Todmorden Libraries – from Wednesday 9 September
  • Hebden Bridge, King Cross and Sowerby Bridge Libraries – from Wednesday 16 September

Cllr Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said:

“We’re really pleased to be able to start welcoming people back to our leisure centres and more of our libraries soon. We know that many people have missed using these services, and we thank them for being patient, staying active in a variety of other ways and using our digital library facilities and Home Library Service.

“Keeping everyone well is always our priority, and we had to be confident that we could reopen our facilities safely. As Calderdale’s COVID-19 rates have been amongst the highest in the country in recent weeks, it has been vital to take a cautious and phased approach to reopening services, to help us manage the risk effectively.

“People returning to our sports centres and libraries will notice some changes and extra safety measures. We urge everyone to respect these and remain vigilant whilst enjoying the facilities. We all need to keep doing our bit to protect each other.”

Extra safety measures in leisure centres: 

  • Opening hours will be reduced and will be available at
  • The number of customers allowed in the buildings at any one time will be significantly reduced to enable social distancing.
  • To manage customer numbers and help with COVID-19 contact tracing, people must pre-book to use the facilities. Bookings can be made online or through reception, and customer data will be stored securely as part of the Test and Trace service. Please do not visit the sites to make any bookings, this can only be done online or over the phone.
  • There will be fewer classes to enable social distancing and ensure the safety of staff and customers.
  • Additional cleaning will take place to ensure the buildings and equipment are regularly sanitised and available for use.
  • There will be signs and floor markings throughout each centre to help with social distancing, as well as hand sanitisation units around the buildings and protective screens in reception areas.
  • Sauna, spas and steam rooms will remain closed until further notice for safety reasons.
  • School swimming lessons will not start until after the October half term, due to transport restrictions for social distancing reasons. Out-of-school lessons will also restart after October half term.
  • The teaching pool at Brighouse Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre will initially remain closed to allow repairs to be undertaken.

 Extra safety measures in libraries:

  • Numbers in the building will be controlled.
  • A one-way system will be in place and staff will be behind safety screens.
  • In line with the latest COVID-19 guidance, face coverings are mandatory, as in all public libraries.
  • Hand sanitiser will be supplied on entry and exit.
  • All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours in line with national guidance.
  • Enhanced cleaning will also take place throughout the day.
  • During the initial opening phase visitors will only be able to return items, collect pre-ordered items and request items held at the library. All items already on loan have been renewed until the end of September and all fines are still on hold, so there’s no need to worry about returning items immediately.
  • Unfortunately there will initially be no access to public computers, printers or photocopiers and customers will be unable to browse stock. This will be reviewed following the initial opening phase.
  • Public toilets are initially unavailable and there will be no access to study or meeting spaces or the use of newspapers or magazines.
  • Customers may pre-order items by phone, with more information about the services available and opening hours at
  • Digital library resources are available. There are over 4,600 eBooks, 3,300 audiobooks and over 3000 digital magazines. To browse and register, visit link)
  • The Home Library Service is operating, on a strict no-contact delivery basis. Sign up online at

All measures will be kept under regular review and people will be notified of any changes. Services and activity programmes will develop in line with Government requirements and public health advice.

As COVID-19 is still within our community, we should all continue to keep at least two metres away from people outside our households wherever possible, wash our hands(external link) with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching our face and follow the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it(external link)’ guidance to help keep ourselves and others safe. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home and book a test(external link) as soon as possible, within five days of the symptoms starting. Please wear a face covering when you are indoors and might come into contact with other people, such as public transport, taxis, shops, museums and places of worship.

For up-to-date and reliable information about COVID-19, use trusted sources such as: link) link)

For a range of ideas on how to keep active in Calderdale, visit


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