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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame targets June 15 to reopen as Ohio eases coronavirus restrictions

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame targets June 15 to reopen as Ohio eases coronavirus restrictions

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Story Courtesy of Cleveland.com

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday it plans to reopen June 15, following the Cleveland Museum of Art’s announcement earlier in the day that it plans to open June 30.

The two institutions are the first major museums in Ohio to announce specifics for reopening after the state shut down much of the economy and issued stay-at-home orders to mitigate the global coronavirus pandemic.

“We are looking at June 15 as a target date we’re working toward,’’ Greg Harris, the museum’s president and CEO, said in an interview. “We will want to maintain a great visitor experience, but will do so within all the proper health and safety protocols.’’

Harris said the reopening “depends on a green light from State of Ohio.”

Procedures at the Rock Hall will include timed tickets, limited admission, temperature checks for visitors, social distancing inside exhibits, and the “expectation” that visitors will wear masks.

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced reopening procedures for selected industries and business, but has not yet announced procedures for museums. Arts leaders said they expect an update this month.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts, the state’s largest advocacy group for the arts, sent the governor a “museum reopening summary” Tuesday morning, said Angela Meleca, the group’s executive director.

The Rock Hall worked on the proposed guidelines, along with the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Harris said the Rock Hall has been advised in its protocols by Dr. Keith Armitage, an infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals.

The Rock Hall hasn’t yet announced when timed tickets will be available on its website for the reopening. Harris said an update will be forthcoming.

Upon arriving, visitors will be directed to a tent on the museum’s front plaza at East Ninth Street and Erieside Avenue, west of the “Long Live Rock” sign, where nurse trainees will provide temperature screening, initially using no-touch forehead readers.

The Rock Hall’s food truck and beer garden will be open on the plaza, with picnic tables spaces more widely than in the past, Harris said. And, of course, there will be music, recorded and live.

Once inside, visitors will be admitted using a new ticketing system that doesn’t require wristbands.

Exhibits will have a one-way circulation route. Attendance will be managed using a minimum of 113 square feet per person, a guideline recommended by the Association of Art Museum Directors, an organization representing the nation’s biggest art museums.

Harris said the recommendation is part of the museum summary shared with DeWine’s office Tuesday.

The museum will launch first with a special members’ day, and within the first week of reopening, it will provide a free day for first responders, health care providers, and their families.

“It’s one way we can thank them for what they’re doing for all of us and a chance for them to experience our place with their family, and reconnect with rock and roll,’’ Harris said.

To enable broad access to the Rock Hall, the museum will have special early hours for self-defined, at-risk populations, including older visitors and those with health conditions.

The museum’s shop and food service operations will follow state guidelines for retail establishments and restaurants, Harris said.

The museum will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., giving maintenance staff more time to clean the facility overnight.

The “Play It Loud’’ exhibition of vintage instruments co-organized by the Rock Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be extended through the end of the year. The museum’s main exhibit hall will feature a new installation on rock music and radio.

“Induction All Access: Photography by Kevin Mazur,’’ an exhibit originally scheduled to open before the Rock Hall induction scheduled for Nov. 7 in Cleveland, will open around that time, Harris said.

A digital version will be available online within three or four weeks, he said.

Quipping about the Rock Hall experience, Harris said the museum “will be disinfected, but not sterile.’’

The museum will provide free, generic masks, and Rock Hall-branded masks for a slight fee, said Dawn Wayt, vice president of marketing and sales.

“It’s a personal choice but we do expect that people will wear them,’’ she said. “We’re not envisioning a security guard enforcement. We expect people to make a good decision.”

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