Dundee City Council and its partners are outlining the phased approach they will take to reopening some of the city’s public buildings and services as the latest lockdown restrictions are eased.
The council is moving forward in line with the Scottish Government’s strategic framework, but timescales will also be dependent on preparation work to ready buildings for reopening, including reviews of risk assessments and the requirement for PPE.
Dundee City Council will also require to continue maintaining key support for the mass vaccination programme which is running at the Caird Hall until at least September 2021.
The reopening process is expected to continue until late June 2021, in line with the release phases set out.
Following the reopening of schools full-time for all pupils from Monday April 19, more services are being reinstated, particularly those for elderly and vulnerable people.
A partial reopening of day centres and respite centres has begun, with the Oakland Centre now open in a limited capacity. It is anticipated that the Mackinnon Centre will offer limited day services from the Oakland Centre in the near future.
In addition, the Turriff Intermediate Care suite and can support emergency respite for people with dementia.
The Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership plans to begin opening day and respite services for adults out of the White top and day support services out of the Wellgate centre in May. Individuals and their families will continue to receive updates on progress.
Other planned reopening milestones include:
• Dundee House customer service delivery on Monday April 26. This is an appointment-only system for face-to-face inquiries in relation to Council Tax, Council Tax Reduction, Housing Benefit and general inquiries such as housing, Blue Badges, National Entitlement Card, parking, free school meals, clothing grants and disabled parking bays.
• Key Leisure & Culture Dundee attractions begin opening from Monday April 26 including: The McManus, Central Library, Olympia and Camperdown Wildlife Centre. The next stage of their reopening plan for venues and services is being finalised and will be announced soon.
• Shared community centres open May 10
All of these openings are subject to change, in line with national guidance, while services are likely to be restricted.
Confirmed opening dates and hours of operation will be announced as soon as possible.
Details will be published on the Council’s website and social media channels, as well as those of partner agencies.
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “After another significant period of lockdown, we appreciate that there is high demand for the reopening of Council services and properties, as well as those operated by partners such as Leisure and Culture Dundee and the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership.
“It is critical, however, that we strike the right balance between meeting that demand and ensuring that the complex reopening process is carried out safely and in line with the many challenges resulting from this unprecedented and unforeseen health crisis.
“Where possible, we’ll find new ways of doing things based on the learnings from the Covid-19 lockdown, which has seen widespread agile working and closer-than-ever collaboration with Leisure and Culture Dundee, the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, the third sector and communities themselves.
“Not everything will be as it was before. It will be some time yet before some of our services and buildings are open again, and variations in opening hours and capacities are likely.
“All of our recovery planning is about keeping service users and staff safe and ensuring that we deliver a successful and sustainable restart. We look forward to welcoming back our service users and customers.”
The majority of council offices are not expected to open for some months, with staff affected still working from home well into the summer.
It is likely that return to offices will take place in a phased way, with blended models of working in place.
Updates will continue to be provided through the council’s website and social media channels. As with most organisations, the Coronavirus pandemic has had – and continues to have – a significant impact on the finances of the Council and its partners.
Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.