Great news for museums, galleries and other exhibition spaces around the UK – they can now begin preparing for a reopening date of July 4th, just a few days away!

According to the BBC, the National Gallery will be the first major establishment in London to welcome people back through its doors once again, opening on July 8th. The Royal Academy, meanwhile, will be reopening on the 9th, with the wearing of face masks compulsory.

There are many venues, however, that have not come forth with a firm date for reopening and some have said they will not be opening for visitors until August or even September.

Visitors will likely be asked to book timed tickets for exhibitions in advance, as well as having to follow one-way routes around different buildings and ensure that social distancing measures are adhered to.

Other steps that some sites have taken, such as the National Gallery, include installing higher efficiency filters in the air-conditioning systems on site to help promote optimum flow of fresh air.

The Royal Academy, meanwhile, has said that members of its Friend scheme will be welcomed back from July 9th and then other visitors the following week. It will also only be open from Thursdays to Sundays until August 2nd, with social distancing in exhibitions.

Axel Ruger, chief executive, said: “As visitor capacity will be greatly reduced due to social distancing, it will be an opportunity for a quieter, more contemplative experience in the galleries.”

The British Museum is one site that has confirmed it won’t be opening on the 4th, saying in a statement: “Our collection and vast historic building are very complex – and so we’re currently planning safe access for visitors and the collection with social distancing.”

Venues planning on opening over the coming weeks may find it beneficial to read current government guidance on reopening in the heritage sector.

As well as timed tickets and pre-booking systems, one-way routes will be in evidence, as well spaced queuing systems. Advice also includes regular cleaning regimes that are intensified during the day and during opening hours.

Audio guide access may need to be reviewed and it may be that new formats using apps are recommended so that people can use personal devices instead. And specialist training of staff members may be required if they’re affected by the new guidance.

Shops and cafes will need to reopen following guidance for food businesses and retail spaces, encouraging people to pay using contactless methods wherever possible.

As for other heritage sites, queue management systems, clear floor markings and one-way systems will be required to help maintain social distancing measures at all attractions in order to limit contact between staff and visitors.

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