STAFFORDSHIRE'S records office is preparing to re-open to the public from next Tuesday (July 14).
The office, on Eastgate Street in Stafford will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for two weeks and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for a further two weeks, before resuming normal opening times from August 11. Saturday opening will start from August 22 reverting back to one per month.
Reduced numbers of visitors, social distancing arrangements, sneeze screens and hand sanitisers will all be in place to ensure visitors and staff are kept safe. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will also be distributed to staff where appropriate.
Visitors to the records office will be limited to four at a time and people interested in viewing original documents will need to request them beforehand.
Meeting rooms will remain closed and there will be no access to PCs, printers, photocopiers and micro fiche/films. Although there will be no physical events or activities in the office, all the usual digital archive and heritage services and collections will be available online.
Coun Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member responsible for Archives and Heritage, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our Record Offices and getting our Museum Service up and running again.
“Our public spaces will look a little bit different as we have introduced some new processes to ensure our staff and visitors are safe. Hand sanitising, hygiene and social distancing arrangements will all be in place and if Personal Protective Equipment is necessary it will be provided to staff and volunteers. We would ask people to work with us and to please follow the advice as we start to give people access to our wonderful historic collections once again.”
People will also be able to request and view documents from the William Salt Library by ordering them in advance, however, the Grade 2 listed building will remain closed as social distancing is not possible.
Mithra Tonking, chair of the William Salt Library Trust said: “Working with the Archive Service we are offering access to the Library’s collections through Staffordshire Record Office. Advance ordering of items will be required but we hope visitors will understand that these changes are necessary for now.”
Lichfield History Access Point will reopen in the Autumn after Lichfield Library reopens for browsing.
People can get further details on the new arrangements for Staffordshire Archive & Heritage services at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives