France, a different model for reopening museums: first the smallest, then the largest

France will reopen museums according to. size: first the smallest (from May 11), then the largest (date not defined for now).

France will not reopen its museums all at once, but will follow a different model than Germany (where reopening has different dates depending on the region) and Italy (where the date set for the reopening of all museums, nationwide, is May 18): across the Alps, small museums will reopen first (with a date set for May 11, the same date as the retail reopening) and then large museums. This was said yesterday, April 28, by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe while presenting in Parliament the plan for France’s exit from isolation measures.

The premier justified the decision on small museums by saying that small cultural activities “can function more easily in compliance with health measures”: small museums will be joined by libraries and media libraries, also on May 11. In contrast, “large museums,” Philippe said, “which attract a large number of visitors from outside their territorial basin, cinemas, theaters, and concert halls, remain closed and will not be able to reopen. Party halls and multipurpose halls will remain closed until June 2.” The reopening date for major museums has not yet been announced, and the same goes for cinemas, theaters, bars, restaurants: it will be evaluated in May depending on how the epidemic evolves.

The French plan otherwise provides that from May 11 freedom of movement will be restored, although there will be a limit of 100 kilometers for individual travel that is not motivated by irrepressible family or professional reasons. And again, until September blocking of sports and cultural events (we are talking about large festivals, such as music festivals), large professional fairs and, in general, events that gather more than five thousand participants. The 2019-2020 sports season, Philippe noted, will no longer be allowed to resume. Individual outdoor sports activity, however, will remain permitted, as long as safety measures are observed. On the other hand, it will not be possible to practice sports of any kind indoors. Parks, gardens and villas will open only in departments (the equivalent of our provinces) where virus circulation is stopped. Instead, beaches will remain closed until June 1. And again, gatherings limited to a maximum of ten people between May 11 and June 2. As for schools, the return to the classroom will be gradual: elementary and kindergarten children will return to school from June 11, on May 18 it will be the turn of middle schools (priority to the classes of the youngest children and departments where the virus will no longer circulate), while at the end of May high schools may reopen, with priority given to vocational schools. All, however, on the condition that there are no more than 15 students per class, and that teachers wear masks where distance cannot be maintained. For students, mask requirement only in middle school and high school. Philippe’s plan was approved: out of 468 voters, 368 were in favor, 100 against.

Back to museums, however, there is now a debate in France about what the distinction between small and large museums will be, because in his speech Philippe did not outline the terms of the distinction. The grassroots is therefore already calling on the government to issue as soon as possible lists of criteria that will identify which museums will be allowed to reopen.

Pictured: the courtyard of the Louvre. Ph. Credit Benh Lieu Song

France, a different model for reopening museums: first the smallest, then the largest
France, a different model for reopening museums: first the smallest, then the largest

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