Missoula readers will finally be able to see and use, the inside of the new Missoula Public Library after months of waiting. But they'll still have to follow coronavirus safety guidelines -- at least to begin with.
Library staff completed moving from the old library into the new facility last summer, shifting thousands of books and other materials. Although the multi-million dollar facility has been in use since September, library patrons couldn't go inside because of the pandemic. However, that's finally going to change on May 3.
Library trustees approved re-opening, with health department precautions during a Thursday meeting. That means limits on hours of operation and the number of people in the building. Plus, the library has been advised to continuing requiring masks for staff and public, even if vaccinated.
"You now would be an asymptomatic carrier, and so if you were to have COVID you would give it to somebody else if they didn't have the vaccine," library director Honore Bray told trustees. "And so, even though we are vaccinated we will have to continue to be masked. The public will have to continue to be masked if they come in the building."
Bray says the library is checking to see if people will have to sign in for entry. But security guards will be stationed with bracelets to limit people's time in the building to one hour. The library will be open mornings, with alternating days for the general public and "at risk" patrons, with curbside operations continuing in the afternoons.