Museums to reopen next Friday with limit on visitors

The Asian Civilisations Museum is one of the first arts venue to reopen on June 26.

Museums will reopen next Fri-day and heritage centres on July 3, the National Heritage Board (NHB) said in an advisory released yesterday.

The Asian Civilisations Museum, the National Museum of Singapore and the National Gallery Singapore will reopen next Friday, while the Malay Heritage Centre, Indian Heritage Centre and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall will do so a week later.

The first arts venues to reopen in phase two will have to take safety measures to ensure the well-being of visitors.

These include the standard SafeEntry check-in and check-out system, temperature checks, mandatory masks for staff and visitors as well as other limitations.

No tours will be allowed, and interactive exhibits will remain closed or cordoned off.

For instance, the National Gallery's Keppel Centre for Art Education, a popular destination for families with children with many high-touch exhibits, will stay closed.

No audio guides, headphones or shared items will be available.

Venues also have to reduce visitor volume by cutting operating capacity to 25 per cent.

Museum-goers should note that group sizes are limited to five.

Groups have to observe a safe distance of at least 1m, and no mingling of groups will be allowed.

Museums have already been preparing for reopening.

A spokesman for the National Gallery told The Straits Times: "The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains our top priority, and the Gallery has put in place a strong set of safe management measures, including thorough cleaning and disinfection, that has been validated through the SG Clean certification awarded to the Gallery and all our F&B tenants on April 13, 2020."

As further insurance to control the number of visitors, the Gallery may introduce timed entry, a common practice in overseas museums for crowd control at blockbuster shows.

"If and when necessary, we will be able to easily implement timed entry to further manage capacities," said the spokesman.

NHB's advisory comes as Sin-gapore is easing restrictions put in place during the circuit breaker period to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Many commercial art galleries, including Gillman Barracks, Art Porters Gallery and Mulan Gallery, are already open this weekend.

An advisory from the National Arts Council, also released yesterday, said that commercial galleries are subject to Enterprise Singapore's safe management measures for retail establishments, and added that live performances are still not allowed "as large gatherings of people for a prolonged period of time increases the risk of transmission of the virus".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2020, with the headline Museums to reopen next Friday with limit on visitors. Subscribe