That's why museums should also be open in orange zone regions, as should stores

Could museums open even in orange-zone regions? Here are some reasons to support this hypothesis.

It was yesterday’s news that in the upcoming dpcm there could be “loosening” to the regulations on places of culture and entertainment. In addition to the reopening of theaters and cinemas, the draft includes the possibility of opening museums and monuments on weekends as well, as long as reservations are required. It is necessary to point out that the museums actually open are few and with very limited hours, because a large number of sites have not reopened at all. And we make it clear that as long as movement between regions is prohibited, tourism is completely blocked.

For now, the only visitors to the museums are the guides themselves, who have been doing hundreds of refresher courses and visits for months, scholars and residents, at most people from a few neighboring municipalities in the same region. The opening of the monuments even on weekends is therefore essential precisely for the residents, that is, the only ones who constitute the potential visitors during this period, because most people work from Monday to Friday and can devote themselves to walks and visits only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Roma, la Galleria Borghese vuota
Rome, the empty Borghese Gallery

Even if the text of the draft dpcm is confirmed and the government allows museums to be kept open on holidays as well, the main problem of cultural places, however, would not be solved, because what hurts the sector the most is the “dependence” of museums and monuments on the risk band of the respective region (this is a measure established under the Conte bis government in the DPCM of 14/01/2021). At present, they can only be open in white or yellow-band regions. As soon as the orange band is triggered, museums must still be closed. This results in total uncertainty for both the respective directorates and potential visitors. One never knows if they can continue to be open the following week. Even at the level of internal management, it is madness. On a cost level, intermittent openings certainly do not help. Scheduling is impossible both for those who work there and for those who would like to visit them.

The opening of exhibitions and museums should be unrelated to the “color” of the relevant region. It is up to each director anyway to decide whether that monument is suitable for opening or not. Moreover, they are ticketed places, with severely limited numbers: crowding is impossible. Museums characterized by cramped halls and places with basements will wisely be kept closed, but others can still be opened. What sense does it make to keep Ostia Antica Park, Pompeii, Herculaneum and so many other sites characterized by large spaces closed in the orange zone? No one can seriously consider them more dangerous than walking along Rome’s Via del Corso or Naples’ Lungomare, crowded every Saturday by thousands of people. In the orange zone, stores are open and most businesses are limited in size. By what logic can one enter a fruit store of a few square meters but not the often huge museum halls or archaeological parks? We understand the impossibility of keeping museums open in the red zone, but at least in the orange zone they should not be closed.

We therefore ask Minister Franceschini to intervene with the government so that the ban on the opening of museums, exhibitions and monuments in the orange zone is lifted. The possibility of openings also on weekends and holidays is for all of us an extremely positive measure, which we hope will be confirmed. Without the modification of the January 14 DPCM, however, the new measure risks being another piece with few results.

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