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UK Government Publish Guidance for Reopening of Museums, Galleries and Heritage Sector

The UK Government has published guidance outlining how museums, galleries, heritage attractions and historic buildings can reopen to the public, during the ongoing Corvid 19 pandemic.

Guidance for the heritage sector has been published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in collaboration with Historic England and guidance for museums has been published by the National Museum Directors’ Council with DCMS support. Both will outline the processes and facilities that businesses and organisations must put in place before reopening so that staff and visitors can be kept safe.

The guidance is specifically for heritage attractions, those running businesses from historic and listed buildings, and those working to conserve and protect heritage assets.

The sector-specific guidance for museums and galleries enhances existing guidance, including advice for working in labs and research facilities, reopening gift shops and cafes and managing visitors.

Providing the conditions of the guidance are met, the wider sector is currently expected to open from 4 July 2020.

The guidance makes clear that the following measures should be considered to allow for safe reopening:

At museums:

Timed tickets may need to be pre-booked to reduce the number of people entering an exhibition or site at one time.

Clearly communicated one way routes and spaced queuing systems may be introduced to manage the flow of visitors.

Regular cleaning regimes should be intensified during the day and beyond opening hours.

Access to audio guides may need to be reviewed, with museums considering new formats for the content such as apps that can be accessed on personal devices or quarantine periods for public handsets.

Specialist training may need to be provided for roles impacted by the new guidance, for example Front of House staff managing new operating conditions or for roles where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Shops and cafes will need to reopen in line with guidance for food businesses and retail spaces and should encourage visitors to pay via contactless methods where possible.

This guidance is for organisations in England. Organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should adhere to the advice of the devolved administrations at all times.