Irish Government announces museums to reopen from 1 December

30 Nov 2020

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced last Friday, 27 December, the Irish Government's roadmap for the easing of Level 5 lockdown restrictions to Level 3.

Modifications to level 3 will see museums (including art museums or galleries) reopen with protective measures in the first phase of reopening. This will come into effect on Tuesday 1st December. Libraries will be allowed reopen for browsing, e-services, and call and collect.

The Irish Museums Association (IMA)'s membership welcomes this nuanced approach to the reopening of museums within the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19. As institutions that hold a high degree of trust and place public benefit at the core of their activities and purpose, museums are ideally placed to provide national and regional audiences with a stable, safe environment. In doing so, they not only boost civic wellbeing and public mental health but can also assist broader government efforts in curtailing spread of Covid-19 and provide respite to visitors.

With stringent protocols already in place such as controlled entry and exits, one-way systems, monitored capacity, and improved ventilation in addition to increased sanitisation, no incidences of contagion has been traced back to Irish museums to date. This has been backed by the Network of European Museums Organisations, who in a statement released on 27 October, confirmed no reported cases of museums being infection hotspots, underpinning their low risk category.

In welcoming the announcement, the IMA's Gina O'Kelly said: 'The safety of audiences and staff is of paramount importance to our sector and we are confident protective measures across our museums reflect this. While allowed reopen from this Tuesday, individual circumstances are being (and must be) considered by each museum - with some opting to not reopen until Spring 2021. Despite this, the reopening of museums represents a lifeline for many of our members who hugely look forward to welcoming visitors back to their exhibition rooms and providing them with a safe, relaxed, and enjoyable experience'.

Click here to see Reopening guidelines.

Click here to see the IMA's interactive map to reopening of museums.