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NYC Museums and “Low Risk” Cultural Sites Can Reopen On August 24, Governor Says

Institutions will be allowed to welcome visitors at 25% capacity, and they must enforce face coverings, among other safety measures.

The American Museum of Natural History plans to reopen to the general public on September 9 (photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that indoor cultural institutions, including museums and other “low risk” cultural sites, can reopen in New York City starting Monday, August 24. They must comply with safety measures including 25% capacity, timed ticketing, staggered entry, and enforced face coverings, he added.

Several institutions that shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic have recently released tentative reopening dates. The American Museum of Natural History plans to open its doors to members and “invited guests” on September 2 and to the general public on September 9. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has been closed since March 13, hopes to reopen to visitors on Saturday, August 29, and offer preview days for members on August 27 and 28. Meanwhile, the Whitney Museum announced today a planned reopening date of September 3.

Last month, Cuomo postponed plans to resume indoor cultural attractions, malls, and indoor dining on July 20, the date when the city entered phase four of its reopening plan. Citing the virus’ spread in other states and the possibility of a second wave, the governor decided to push back the timeline.

Now, with New York state seeing less than 1% of all coronavirus tests return positive for seven straight days and hospitalizations at their lowest since March, some institutions throughout the city will be welcoming visitors again.

“We did the impossible as New Yorkers — we stepped up and conquered the COVID-19 virus,” Cuomo said. “Now we have to protect the progress that we have made.”

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