Glasgow services to restart amid financial warning

Glasgow Life has announced a timetable for reopening its facilities in phases until October.

Museums, gyms and libraries are expected to begin to reopen in Glasgow throughout August and September.

But the charity which runs them has warned it faces major financial losses.

Glasgow Life has announced a timetable for reopening, which will see community facilities relaunch first in July to provide essential childcare as people begin to return to work, and the reopening of facilities through phases till October.

The second phase in August will see buildings such as the Kelvingrove and Riverside museums, as well as fitness centres, outdoor football pitches and libraries, reopen.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is planned to reopen at reduced capacity from the week beginning August 17 along with Glasgow Green Football Centre on the same date.

From the week beginning August 31, the Riverside Museum will reopen at reduced capacity as will gym and fitness studios at the Emirates Arena.

David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, said lockdown had had a “considerable impact” on the body’s finances and workforce.

He added: “After 14 weeks of lockdown, local communities and businesses are understandably eager to re-engage with Glasgow Life and we know that demand for the reopening of our venues is extremely high.

“We recognise the challenges will be immense for people in the city who are used to enjoying and, in many cases, rely on our services, but we need to balance that expectation against the complex planning which is now required to reopen any of our buildings.

“As we prepare for a new way of living and working after coronavirus, our fundamental concern must be to ensure that our facilities are safe for our staff and visitors in the weeks and months ahead.”

In 2019/20, more than 18m people used Glasgow Life facilities.
Glasgow Life employees are expected to return to work this month to prepare the buildings for reopening.

Mr McDonald said: “Due to Covid-19, Glasgow Life has furloughed nearly 1000 employees while many more are shielding or have underlying health or childcare issues, which has significantly reduced the capacity of its workforce.

“Our financial and staffing constraints are unlike anything we’ve ever faced and mean we’re not able to operate all of our venues and services just now; it’s simply not possible.

“Planning around government guidance, which is changing regularly, the welfare of our staff and the viability of adapting our venues to meet social distancing takes time and we have a responsibility to get it right from the outset.

“We’re having to consider this on a venue-by-venue basis. At the same time, we’re creating an entirely new set of operating practices.”

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