Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen in August as other museums test the waters

In Brief

Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen in August as other museums test the waters

The Met’s typically crowded central foyer may get a lot less congested if the museum implements strict social distancing policies. (denisbin/Flickr)

Over two months after the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it would close to the public to curb the spread of coronavirus, the museum has announced a tentative reopening date, potentially setting the trend for other New York City cultural institutions.

Today, the Met revealed that it was eyeing a mid-August reopening, or potentially in the next few weeks after that, but would be canceling the remainder of their events for 2020, including the Met Gala. No tours or talks will be scheduled for the rest of the year either, and it’s likely that any reopening will involve reduced capacity and hours so that visitors can maintain social distancing practices.

“The Met has endured much in its 150 years, and today continues as a beacon of hope for the future,” said Daniel H. Weiss, the Met’s president and chief executive, in a statement. “This museum is also a profound reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the power of art to offer comfort, inspiration, and community.”

With daily COVID-19 deaths in the city falling below 115 per day for the first time since March, and as seven other New York State regions have already reopened, the state is gradually easing distancing restrictions, meaning an August timetable could be a realistic one. We’ll have to wait and see if other museums such as the MoMA follow suit.

Meanwhile, cultural powerhouses across America are slowly dipping their toes into the water and reopening with precautions in place. In Texas, although Governor Greg Abbott gave museums the go-ahead to reopen on May 1, many aren’t taking chances. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, reopened last weekend after a two-month closure, but is implementing a mask policy, mandating temperature checks at the entrance, moving to cashless payments, closing the cafe, and requiring guests to stay six feet apart. Could this become the new norm?