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Cleveland Museum of Art plans to reopen in June with limited admission, mandatory coronavirus protocols

Cleveland Museum of Art plans to reopen in June with limited admission, mandatory coronavirus protocols

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Story Courtesy of Cleveland.com

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Museum of Art, which closed March 14 in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, is planning to reopen June 30.

The announcement, released to The Plain Dealer on Tuesday, makes the museum the first in Ohio and one of the first in the U.S. to announce detailed reopening plans.

Visitors will be required to wear masks and admission will be limited to no more than 500 a day, initially, said William Griswold, the museum’s director.

He emphasized that the Cleveland museum’s plans are “a work in progress,’’ and that they will evolve.

“I do think we’re going to reopen Tuesday, June 30,’’ he said. “That date may shift,” he said, adding that, “we’re working toward that date.’’

The museum later emphasized in an email that its guidelines “will undergo comprehensive review using guidelines set forth by the CDC, State of Ohio, along with best practices established by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.”

The museum is consulting with Dr. John Anthony Marino III, a member of ID Consultants, Inc., in Beachwood and Middleburg Heights.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts, which has coordinated a statewide task force to recommend best practices for reopening museums, submitted its report to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office Tuesday morning, said Angela Meleca, the organization’s executive director. The Cleveland museum participated in the group’s task force.

DeWine, who is announcing a rollout of reopening procedures for businesses and institutions, has not yet stated policies for reopening museums. Meleca said she anticipated such an announcement soon.

She said she didn’t know of any other Ohio museum that has announced plans to reopen.

Alison Wade, a spokesperson for the Association of Art Museum Directors, which represents the nation’s largest art museums, said that, “besides the Wichita Art Museum (opening June 2) CMA is the first American art museum I know of to announce their opening date. The first AAMD member to open was the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba.”

The Cleveland museum’s announcement follows two months in which the federal government issued guidelines to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus and Ohio imposed stay-at-home orders that shut down a significant portion of the state’s economy.

The museum is planning a “no-touch,’’ or “low-touch” experience for visitors, Griswold said.

General admission would be free, but timed tickets will need to be reserved. The museum is working on its online procedure for such reservations, and will announce those closer to the reopening.

Temperature scans will be performed at the museum’s North Lobby entrance through a device capable of checking 16 visitors at a time, Griswold said.

Although masks are required for visitors, the museum hasn’t yet said how it would enforce the policy.

“The purpose of wearing face masks is really not to protect one’s self but to protect others,’’ Griswold said. “We will expect our visitors to wear face masks. We hope to be able to provide them if a visitor arrives without one.”

The museum may require one-way routes into and out of pinch points in its floor layout, including the glassy corridors that connect its East and West wings to the 1916 Building on its main gallery level, one story up from its central atrium. Some galleries, particularly smaller ones on the ground level of the 1916 Building, will remain closed for a time.

Opening dates and procedures for the museum’s café, restaurant and shop have yet to be determined, Griswold said.

The Cleveland museum developed its procedures in consultation with art museums across the U.S., and around the world, Griswold said.

The website Hyperallergic reported April 27 that while some museums are reopening in Germany, Italy and France, museums in Hong Kong that reopened in March were forced to close after a second wave of coronavirus infections hit.

Meleca said she expected museums to open in Ohio before performing arts institutions because social distancing is more difficult to achieve in theaters and other gathering spaces.

She said that the state’s management of COVID-19 cases and mitigation measures have put Ohio museums in a position to reopen sooner than in other parts of the country.

“I talk to my counterparts across the country weekly and I think we are in the forefront in coming together as a unified front in providing unified measures to ensure patrons and staff are safe,’’ she said.

Note: This story was updated to include the name of Dr. Anthony Marino, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s infectious disease consultant.

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