Published August 4th, 2020
Museums & Libraries in the COVID-19 Era
Due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of museums and libraries all over the world were forced to close and stop their operations. But as months passed, some have begun to cautiously reopen and resume operations with heavy guidance from new safety guidelines. While some major museums and libraries remain closed, some are announcing plans of reopening within the coming months.
This article will discuss the “new normal” for museums and libraries post-lockdown and technology that can support reopening strategies.
The “New Normal” for Museum & Libraries
As restrictions or policies are being modified according to the number of cases, the world begins to enter a phase of new normalcy. Reopened businesses will not be the same as they were prior to lockdown. Many changes will be seen across different industries and establishments, including museums and libraries. They will have to adapt to COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure the safety of both employees and guests upon reopening. Prepare for reopening by considering the following general safety guidelines:
- Social Distancing
Implement strict social distancing measures the premises to reduce risks of spreading the virus. This can include (but is not limited to) the following:
- Reducing capacity or the number of people within the premises at at any given time
- Providing distance markers observing a distance of 6 feet (2 arms’ length) for queuing people at service points
- Placing group tours on hold
- Changing the layout in public spaces and rooms
- Adjusting business operation and employee schedules
In addition, guests and employees should also be required to use cloth face coverings to avoid accidental spread within the vicinity. CDC states that the use of cloth face coverings can help reduce the chances of respiratory droplets traveling in the air onto other people and surfaces.
- Regular Cleaning and Disinfecting
An enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedure should be implemented to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Museums and libraries should readily provide soap and alcohol or hand sanitizers in the facility for guests and employees to use. High touch areas should be regularly cleaned and disinfected with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved disinfectants to kill the virus and minimize chances of spreading. In some establishments, short closures are done to ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.
- Employee Training
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards require employers to provide their employees with sufficient training on health and safety protocols against COVID-19, as well as specific guidance for changes in their job duties. It is of utmost importance that employees clearly understand health and safety protocols in place in order to carry them out successfully.
- Low Contact Services
Museums and libraries can further limit social interaction by moving some services remotely or online. For example:
- Allow guests to purchase tickets online or book reservations
- Offering curbside pickup of online or telephone orders (books returned should be quarantined within 24 to 72 hours as a safety precaution)
- Virtual museum tours
Implement and regulate monitoring procedures to check for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 among employees and guests upon arrival. Ensure that all visitors and employees have masks and their temperature checked before entering to exclude those who are unwell.
Using Technology for Reopening Strategies
Reopening during these uncertain times will surely be challenging and risky. Keep guests and employees safe by adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. To help museums and libraries streamline safety protocols, Safetyculture has provided free resources such as iAuditor that can be used to support reopening strategies. Use iAuditor by SafetyCulture to perform and monitor safety checks using our free COVID-19 checklists to ensure the safety of guests and employees within the vicinity.
Disclaimer: Please note that these checklists are hypothetical examples and provide basic information only. They are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Featured Museum and Library Reopening Checklists
Museum and Library Reopening Checklist
This Museum and Library Reopening Checklist follows the minimum standard health protocols implemented by the government of texas. Use this checklist as a guide to protect visitors and employees against COVID-19 upon reopening. You may customize according to safety protocols set by your local authorities.
COVID-19 Facilities Reopening Readiness Checklist
This facilities reopening readiness checklist can be used by employers and facility managers to assess the readiness of the establishment for reopening. Use this checklist to check if current safety protocols are aligned with the latest COVID-19 safety guidelines and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for guests and employees upon reopening.
COVID-19: Employee Temperature Checklist
Building and facility security teams can use this Employee Temperature Checklist when screening guests and employees upon arrival. Use this checklist to control the potential spread of COVID-19 in the workplace by screening for signs of respiratory illness accompanied by fever.