Govt issues SOPs to reopen museums, art galleries, exhibitions from Nov 10

Delhi's National Museum (File photo)

New Delhi (NVI): The Ministry of Culture today issued standard operating procedures (SOP) for reopening of museums, art galleries and exhibitions from November 10, to contain the further spread of COVID-19.

“Since the festive season is here, it has been decided to reopen all museums, art galleries and exhibitions with effect from November 10, so that the public can once again enjoy exploring rich cultural heritage of India,” the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

The new guidelines contain SOPs to be followed by the management of museums, art galleries and exhibitions (both temporary and permanent), as well as the visitors to these spaces, the ministry added.

These comprehensive guidelines have been issued for adequate cleaning, purchase of tickets and for ensuring safety of visitors and staff at museums, exhibitions and art galleries.

They shall come into effect immediately, and will continue to be in effect until further orders.

“While the museums, exhibitions and art galleries would be reopened from November 10 onwards, others can be reopened as per convenience with relevant to State/city rules and regulations or Unlock guidelines in force,” the ministry noted.

It is also clarified that no museums and art galleries shall re-open inside containment zones and State and Union Territory governments may also consider proposing additional measures as per their field assessment, it added.

Under the new guidelines, the sanitization of premises should be done at regular intervals and wearing of masks and social distancing by all visitors has been made mandatory. The standard operating procedures (SOP) have also barred use of audio guides unless they can be disinfected after every use.

It added that lift operations are to be limited, preferably reserved for physically challenged or elderly persons. The ministry guidelines has also advised limited use of touch-based digital technology except in cases where disinfection can be ensured after every use.

Meanwhile, the national directives for COVID-19 management and the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health, State/UT governments, etc. shall be strictly complied with all activities and operations, the ministry said.

All museums and art galleries under administrative control of the Culture Ministry were closed since March 17, to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as museums and art galleries are slowly resuming their operations and re-opening their premises, it is important that comprehensive guidelines are laid down to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and ensure safety of visitors and staff.