With every passing week it seems we are ever so slowly beginning to get back to some form of normality following the events of the last few months.

At the council we are very firmly in the recovery phase and that means trying to get as many of our services back up and running as we can. Up until this point we have had to do things slightly differently, whether it is opening Steam to a virtual audience or holding art exhibitions online.

But of course we are really keen we reopen our public buildings for residents to use and visit. It is likely you will hear the phrase Covid-secure on many occasions over the coming weeks and months ahead. Of course buzz words aside, what we are really talking about is making our buildings safe for the general public and that the necessary precautions are in place to minimise people’s chances of catching the virus which has claimed so many lives around the world.

This is not as easy as it sounds and the health and safety checks and risk assessments that have to be meticulously carried out by our diligent officers are painstakingly time consuming.

Put simply, we can’t just flick a switch and get everything back to normal the way it was. But we are getting there.

On Monday we announced the reopening of Central Library with a click, call and collect service. Library members will be able to reserve books online or over the phone and will be contacted by a member of staff and asked to collect their items during the designated opening times.

Vulnerable residents or those unable to visit the library in person, can have their books collected on their behalf. We expect the remaining four core libraries to offer a click, call and collect service in two weeks’ time and library buildings will have limited access with many only opening foyers to exchange books. But of course we are maintaining all our digital library services so please go online if you cannot take advantage of the new collection service.

Part of our recovery work also includes helping businesses to bounce back from the economic effects of the Covid-19 lockdown and this week we also announced a new fast-track temporary pavement licence system valid for 12 months.

This will enable businesses in the hospitality industry such as restaurants, pubs and cafes who wish to place tables and chairs outside their premises to allow them to serve more customers to receive permission within five working days, instead of the several weeks it would take under normal circumstances due to the planning process.

We are keen to do all we can to support our local businesses to help them get back on their feet while observing the Government’s social distancing guidelines. But we can all do our bit to support our local economy by continuing to support our local businesses where we can. It will go a long way to ensuring Swindon’s recovers as quickly as possible.