Museums, art galleries, exhibitions under Culture Ministry to reopen from Nov 10; SoPs issued

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (PTI) Recording contact details, leaving belongings in cars and no audio guides are part of the post-COVID-19 protocols for visitors to museums, art galleries and exhibitions according guidelines issued by the culture ministry on Thursday as it announced the reopening of these institutions under it from November 10.

All these institutions were shut since a nationwide lockdown was announced in March to contain the spread of coronavirus.

'While the museums, exhibitions and art galleries under Ministry of Culture would be reopened from 10 November, 2020, onwards, others can be reopened as per convenience and in tune with relevant state, city, local laws, rules and regulations and unlock guidelines in force,' the ministry said in a statement.

According to the standard operating procedures (SoPs), temperature screening of all visitors have been made mandatory along with registering their contact details to ensure tracking in case any positive case is found in the museum and art gallery.

Visitors coming in vehicles may keep their belongings in their vehicles to avoid baggage checks at the entrance, it said.

Sanitization of premises at regular intervals and wearing of masks by all visitors has also been made mandatory while use of audio guides has been barred unless they can be disinfected after every use.

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

The guidelines also have a separate section on purchase of tickets whereby non-cash payment methods like online ticket purchase, contactless card, UPI applications or mobile wallets are advised.

'Sale of tickets at museums/art galleries to be kept to bare minimum, to avoid human interaction. Pre-booked time slots could be introduced to reduce the number of visitors in locations at the same time.

“Floor markers shall be used for physical distancing during queue management at the ticket counter. UV-c/UV-d sterilizing box to be made available in the ticket counter for exchange of currency notes and printed tickets,' it said.

The Culture Ministry's guidelines said adequate physical distancing of at least six feet to be followed at all times, availability of hand sanitizers, preferably in touch-free mode, at entry and exit points as well as common areas within the premises have to be assured.

'Visitors may be provided with inexpensive disposable gloves at the entrance of gallery to facilitate safe touch while handling digital exhibits.

'Time slots may be implemented, if possible, to prevent overcrowding. Limits on number of visitors will be introduced by each museum/gallery. Maximum number of visitors per exhibition room will be defined in a way that allows a safety distance of 1.5 metre between each visitor,' it said.

Adequate dustbins must be provided at key points, with specially marked dustbins for proper disposal of masks, gloves or other equipment, especially those used by cleaning staff.

'Installation and use of AarogyaSetu App shall be advised to all visitors and staff having compatible mobile phones. Periodical public announcements should be made advising the visitors to follow standard protocols such as maintaining safe distance, covering face with mask, regular hand sanitization etc. Designate on-site safety officer to report unsafe conditions in the premises, immediately,' the guidelines stated. PTI ASG NSD NSD