VISITORS to art galleries and museums will have to book timed tickets and audio guides could have to be binned to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Museums will be able to finally reopen on July 4 after a four-month shutdown, but visitors will have to follow one way routes under strict new guidelines.
Museums have been told they will have to allocate “timed tickets” to reduce the number of people entering an exhibition or site at any one time.
People probably won’t be allowed to pop into a museum or gallery on a whim, as these tickets may need to be pre-booked, according to guidance from the Government.
Venues should also put in one-way systems where possible, to limit the number of people moving in and out of different rooms.
The guidance suggests implementing “wait” or “stop” signs in busy areas.
Foyers and assembly areas will be used for queuing, which will have to be socially distanced.
Interactive exhibitions could also have to be ditched – meaning audio guides to museums could be banned.
If museums want to keep them in place, the rules suggest thorough cleaning and quarantining them to limit the risk of germs lingering after visitors have used them.
The guidance says: “Museums (should consider) new formats for the content such as apps that can be accessed on personal devices or quarantine periods for public handsets.”
Internal shops and cafes will have to follow the same social distancing advice as those outside of museums and galleries – including quarantining clothes which people have tried on, taking orders via apps, and putting screens in front of counters to protect staff.
Visiting museums and galleries could mean a long hike up stairs, as venues have been advised to limit the use of lifts to people with limited mobility.
This is because lifts are small, enclosed spaces where the risk of spreading coronavirus is higher.
Where it isn’t possible to follow the 2 metre social distancing rule, staff and visitors will have to follow the “one metre plus rule” which means staying 1 metre away and using extra precautions such as face masks.
While the advice doesn’t make face masks mandatory in museums or galleries, it advises managers to consider bringing them in for staff where they think it is necessary.
Heritage sites will also be subject to the advice and will need clear floor markings showing visitors through via a one-way-system to stop crowds forming.
The guidance also advised heritage sites to put in similar pre-booking systems in place to limit being flooded with visitors.
All cultural attractions will have to reboot their cleaning regime and implement “deep cleaning”, but they will have to ensure it is “completed in a way that does not damage the historic fabric of the buildings.”