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The Forum in Norwich to reopen to the public

PUBLISHED: 07:02 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:57 03 July 2020

The Forum completely empty during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Brittany Woodman

The Forum completely empty during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Brittany Woodman

Archant

It has been closed to the public for more than three months but one of Norwich’s iconic buildings is set to reopen.

Jan Holden, head of Norfolk Library and Information Service. Picture: Hannah Hutchins/National Centre for WritingJan Holden, head of Norfolk Library and Information Service. Picture: Hannah Hutchins/National Centre for Writing

The Forum has announced it will reopen at 7am on Monday, July 6 with a comprehensive range of measures in place to meet coronavirus guidelines.

The building closed to the public on March 21, two days before Boris Johnson announced the lockdown.

Café Bar Marzano, Pizza Express and the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library all closed at the same time.

Pizza Express and Café Bar Marzano in The Forum will reopen to customers on July 9. Picture: Archant LibraryPizza Express and Café Bar Marzano in The Forum will reopen to customers on July 9. Picture: Archant Library

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The reopening will see a series of changes for visitors, including one-way systems, hand sanitising stations and enhanced cleaning regimes for high-touch points like door handles, railings, lift buttons and contactless payments for the car park.

The Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library will operate from 10am-6pm Monday-Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays from Monday.

Services will be reduced with a one-way system and a limited number of visitors allowed in at one time. Computers will need to be pre-booked in advance and visitors are advised to make short visits as seats will be unavailable.

Norwich Science Festival due to take place at the Forum in October has been cancelled. Picture: Antony KellyNorwich Science Festival due to take place at the Forum in October has been cancelled. Picture: Antony Kelly

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Both Café Bar Marzano and Pizza Express will open from Thursday, July 9.

Norwich Tourist Information Centre and The Jarrold Shop will remain closed. Citizens Advice Norwich will be closed for public appointments with enquiries encouraged via the advice line, email or webchat facilities.

Tim Bishop, chief executive of the Forum Trust, at the launch of Heritage Open Days last year.  The event will go ahead this year in September in a revised form. Picture: Denise BradleyTim Bishop, chief executive of the Forum Trust, at the launch of Heritage Open Days last year. The event will go ahead this year in September in a revised form. Picture: Denise Bradley

Tim Bishop, chief executive of The Forum Trust, said: “We can’t wait to be open and welcome people back.

“Our building is here for all and it’s been devastating not being able to offer our services to the thousands of visitors who come every week.

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“Covid-19 has severely impacted The Forum and we’ve had to change how we do things. Our programme of free, year-round events depends on income from our car park so every time you park here you are supporting those much-loved events in the city calendar.

“To minimise the risks to the public in the short term The Forum will be quieter than usual but there’s a huge demand for events and activities – now more than ever.”

The closure has hit the usually packed programme of activities with all events cancelled until the end of September along with the Norwich Science Festival, due to take place in October.

However the annual Heritage Open Days Festival coordinated in Norfolk by The Forum will be going ahead in September in a revised form of both digital and in-person events.

The Forum building will initially open 10am-6pm Monday-Friday and Sunday and 9am-6pm Saturday. The Forum car park will revert to normal opening hours of 7am-midnight Monday-Sunday.


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