After being shut for nearly eight months, museums, art galleries and exhibitions across India will re-open from November 10 with necessary health safety protocol amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Culture on Thursday issued detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by the management of museums, art galleries and exhibitions (both temporary and permanent), as well as the visitors to these spaces. Comprehensive guidelines have been issued for adequate cleaning, purchase of tickets and for ensuring the safety of visitors and staff at museums, exhibitions and art galleries, the Ministry said.

All museums and art galleries under the Ministry were shut since March 17 owing to COVID-19 containment measures. Such places will continue to remain shut inside containment zones.

Key guidelines in the SOP

  • Adequate physical distancing of at least 6 feet, use of face masks and regular sanitization of premises are mandatory.
  • The use of audio guides is to be suspended while that of digital (touch-based) technology will be limited unless these can be disinfected after every single use.
  • Services in the cafeteria may be restricted to serving only tea/coffee from vending machines and dry-packed food items. The use of disposable cutlery and crockery is to be encouraged.
  • Guided tours should be avoided or restricted to groups having up to 10 persons, with adequate social distancing. No group photos should be permitted.
  • Online purchases/bookings of entry tickets are advised. Pre-booked time slots could be introduced to reduce the number of visitors in locations at the same time.  

Here is the full SOP issued by the Ministry of Culture.

These guidelines shall come into effect immediately and shall continue to be in effect until further orders. While the museums, exhibitions and art galleries under Ministry of Culture would be reopened from November 10 onwards, others can be reopened as per convenience and in tune with relevant State/city /local laws, rules and regulations/unlock guidelines in force, the Ministry said.