COMMUNITY centres, libraries and other facilities are set to start reopening from the end of the month.

East Lothian Council will begin a phased opening of community facilities from January 31 following the easing of some coronavirus restrictions.

To successfully maintain the continued operation of statutory services, including schools and care homes, council resources were prioritised to ensure key facilities remained open.

Council leader Norman Hampshire said: “Although the further easing of COVID restrictions from Monday is a welcome development, case numbers in East Lothian and staff absences remain a challenge.

“So whilst the current situation is still somewhat fragile it’s clear that we are moving in a more positive direction and able to reopen some more of our local community facilities.”

From January 31, it is intended to reopen East Linton and Gullane libraries for their normal opening hours joining Dunbar, Musselburgh and North Berwick Libraries which are currently fully open.

Other libraries will continue to have restricted public access for a while longer until staffing resources improve.

Information on specific libraries will be released nearer the time through the council’s website and social media.

In addition, some community centres, which had to be closed temporarily due to a shortage of cleaning staff, will be able to reopen and communities staff are currently planning activities restarting and details will shortly be available on the council’s website.

There remains though a need to prioritise use of community buildings and spaces for education, children’s services and housing and general public bookings are still limited.

Mr Hampshire added: “We will continue to monitor the situation weekly with the aim of fully reopening services as soon as practical, subject to staff availability and any national advice which may impact on service delivery.

“We are very grateful to our local communities for their continued understanding during these challenging times and our key priority remains to ensure we are creating and maintaining as safe an environment as possible for people visiting and working within our facilities.”