Museums, here is the "Asian model": measures to reopen according to the eastern experience

CIMAM proposes an 'Asian model' for safely reopening museums in the wake of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

CIMAM, the International Committee of Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art, the leading international organization representing this type of museum, suggests some guidelines for reopening cultural venues: we could call it the "Asian model," since the document was drafted based on the experiences currently being implemented at the National Gallery in Singapore, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the M+ Museum in Hong Kong, which established their protocols back in March. The model is based on four areas of action: visitor safety, staff safety, facilities management and public communication.

Regarding visitor safety, eight measures are suggested. First: a screening of visitors’ body temperature at the entrance, and subsequent removal of those who demonstrate unwellness (and possible referral to medical assistance). Second: registration of visitors at the entrance with preservation of data (name, phone and email) for tracking purposes. Third: possibility of asking, at the entrance, for a certificate from visitors who, in the last 14 days, have been in an area of high prevalence of infection. Fourth: ensuring the use of face masks where possible. Fifth: suspension of events with many participants (the suggested number is at least 100, but this can be varied depending on the situation). Sixth: suspension of programs and events targeting the elderly or other at-risk groups. Seventh: suspension of all guided tours. Eighth: implementation of health safety measures.

The latter include physical distance of at least one meter (the paper suggests achieving this in four ways: visitor quotas so that there can be a maximum of one per three square meters; staggered entrances; limiting the length of the visit; spacing between visitors through devices such as signs on the floor to guide the public, alternating places on benches and chairs, and the like), continuous presence of staff to avoid assemblages inside the halls, avoidance of events that involve the soministration of food and beverages (only single-serving containers of soft drinks are allowed), and installation of bollards to ensure proper distance between visitors.

There are five measures aimed at staff. First: daily temperature checks of workers twice a day, the first at the time they enter the workplace and the second at 2 p.m., resulting in a record of the results. In case the temperature exceeds 37.5 degrees, the museum should send the worker home and call the doctor, making sure that the diagnosis is documented. Second: use of face masks for all staff. Third: remind staff to implement social responsibility practices and constantly monitor their health conditions, and if possible to avoid attending events if they are not feeling well. Fourth: ensure sanitizing gel for staff, especially those who work in the ticket office and cannot wash their hands frequently. Fifth: enable flexible work arrangements, with staff divided into teams, or with continuous rotating shifts.

Instead, here are the three measures for facilities management. First: increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of rooms, and especially of surfaces and objects that visitors frequently touch (non-essential items should be removed anyway). In addition, the paper suggests suspending the use of audio guides and enclosed areas for children if regular sanitization is not possible. Second: place sanitizing gel dispensers in easily accessible parts of the museum so that visitors and staff can continuously clean their hands (for example, after touching a door handle that must remain closed). Third, encourage online ticket purchases and adopt payment systems that manage to minimize the use of cash.

Finally, four measures for public communication. First: provide the public with constant information on spacing, data recording, temperature screening, and other safety requirements. Second: place notices and informational posters in busy environments reminding visitors to adhere to safety measures (e.g., avoid shaking hands with other event participants, and practice good personal hygiene). Third: appeal to visitors, event participants, and partners to cooperate by practicing good personal hygiene, monitoring their physical condition, avoiding venues and events where they may not feel well, contacting their doctor where possible, and practicing physical distancing of one meter at all times. Fourth, encourage the public, event participants and partners to properly inform themselves about the epidemic and its spread, and also avoid stigmatization or discrimination for reasons related to the spread of Covid-19.

Pictured: the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.

Museums, here is the
Museums, here is the "Asian model": measures to reopen according to the eastern experience

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