New York City Museums and Cultural Institutions Can Reopen on August 24

They must follow strict safety measures and capacity restrictions

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In a survey of more than 750 museum directors, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) determined that one-third of all museums across the country might permanently close due to the loss of business during the pandemic. New York City museums, however, now have a little hope for recovery. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that low-risk cultural institutions, including museums, aquariums, and other arts organizations, will be able to reopen starting Monday, August 24.

Every institution that opens will be required to follow strict protocols: they must operate at or below 25 percent capacity, institute a timed-ticket entrance policy that staggers guests appropriately, and enhance cleaning procedures. And, of course, they must ensure all visitors wear masks.

In the same announcement, Governor Cuomo also announced that bowling alleys in New York City will be allowed to open on Monday, August 17, so long as they operate at or below 50 percent capacity, leave every other lane open, and prohibit the sale of food and beverage (indoor dining is not yet permitted in New York City). 

These openings follow the city’s entry into Phase 4 of the pandemic reopening on July 20, which saw visitors return to zoos and gardens through timed-ticket entry, and the start of outdoor dining at restaurants. Since then, the city has been able to keep the COVID-19’s spread to a minimum, with an average daily growth rate below one percent for the last seven days.

“This pandemic is far from over, but we’ve determined that institutions can reopen if they adhere to strict state guidance and take every precaution to keep visitors safe, and I look forward to seeing them inspire New Yorkers once again,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “I’m also happy to report that we will be able to open bowling alleys across the state with strict safety protocols in place, providing a level of fun and recreation at a time when New Yorkers really need it.”

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