Museums and galleries will be allowed to reopen in England from 4 July. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced measures easing the coronavirus restrictions in place since March.
England is “clearly on track” to further ease lockdown restrictions – Matt Hancock
Galleries and Museums that have been closed since the middle of March will be allowed to welcome visitors back as long as social distance measures are in place. Mr Johnson also set out plans for pubs and restaurants to reopen, which will include one meter + distance regulations.
The Society of London Art Dealers has already welcomed the reopening of many of the major commercial galleries and Auction Rooms on 1 5 June. The galleries reopened on a pre-booked basis to comply with strict social distancing measures in order to protect staff and clients.
Visitors have been encouraged to wear masks or were given masks on arrival. The galleries welcomed visitors to return to the West End and engage with several exciting exhibitions by leading international artists. Galleries have opened strictly by appointment. Public Museums will follow the same protocol by initiating a timed ticket method of entrance. It has yet to be announced whether the restaurants and cafes within the major museums will reopen and the question of access to public toilets is also unclear.
Yesterday, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said the virus was “in retreat”. He added, England was “clearly on track” to further ease lockdown restrictions, they warned the moves would be reversed if they led to a surge in new infections.
There were fewer than 1,000 confirmed new cases announced on Monday, the lowest daily figure since the lockdown started on 23 March, while the number of people in hospital with the virus has fallen below 5,000.
The number of daily virus deaths also fell to 15, the lowest since 15 March. However, the figures often dip on Mondays due to reporting delays.
The BBC reported; the Office for National Statistics figures show the number of overall deaths in England and Wales for the week ending 12 June was back below 10,000 for the first time this year, although still not back to normal levels. There were 9,976 deaths registered in England and Wales, down from 10,709 the previous week – 6% above the five-year average.
The Tate, the Science Museum Group, the Natural History Museum, National Gallery, British Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum, closed since mid-March welcomed the decision allowing them to reopen to the public this summer in a joint statement they said;
“We will now work closely with government, trade unions and supporters to see how and when we can open our doors again in a financially sustainable manner, for the long term,” the statement says. “The British public have faced a wretched few months of isolation, loss, and anxiety in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening of museums—whose galleries speak to the creative, resilient power of the human spirit—will provide solace and inspiration as Britain looks to the future.”
Serpentine Galleries in Kensington Gardens will have a phased relaunch from 4 August with the Cao Fei: Blueprints exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
The Whitechapel Gallery in London aims to open its doors early July with five exhibitions including Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium and In the Eye of Bambi (La Caixa Collection), which will be extended until the end of August.
The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire will open from 1 August. “The Bill Brandt/Henry Moore exhibition has been extended until 1 November
Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, which focuses on British art from 1900 to today, will reopen in August, providing government advice does not change in the interim, says its director Simon Martin.
The Royal Academy of Arts in London, which receives no government subsidy, is currently working on its reopening plans.