New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that museums and cultural institutions will reopen under public health guidelines starting August 24 after five months of Covid-19 closures.
The announcement comes as the state has seen a seven-day streak of less than 1 percent of all coronavirus tests returning positive. However, plans to lift the lockdown on cultural institutions come with some significant restrictions on the reintroduction of visitors.
The Governor emphasized that institutions will only operate at a 25 percent max-occupancy capacity, and museum-goers will need to get their entries through a timed ticketing system. Of course, visitors will also need to stick to health and safety precautions, such as wearing face coverings and controlled traffic flow.
The coronavirus pandemic caused 90% of the world’s museums to temporarily close, and museums across the US collectively lost at least $33 million a day – where they would normally provide $50 billion a year to the US economy. Laura Lott, the president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums told Forbes: “Even with a partial reopening in the coming months, costs will outweigh revenue and there is no financial safety net for many museums.”
Cuomo’s directive does not allow theaters and other performing arts venues to open as of yet.