May: the month of change?

By | Category: Travel news

During May, many countries will be relaxing their lockdowns and opening the doors for limited tourism.

When might we be able to visit the British Museum again? Or any of of our other museums?

China, for example, will allow buses and trains to take up to 75% of their pre-coronavirus passenger numbers, up from the 50% they had previously been allowed to carry. It is also re-opening some of its museums, galleries and tourist attractions such as the Palace Museum and the Summer Palace.

Domestic air travel is growing again and it is expected that it will only be down by about a third compared to pre-coronavirus days compared to the 70% it was down in March and early April.

In Germany, some museums will open on May 4th but only if certain criteria are met. Museums should have some sort of Perspex or other plastic barriers between visitors and staff at ticket booths, tickets that can be scanned rather than ones that staff must handle and reduced visitor numbers. In addition, museums and other institutions allowed to open must do rigorous and more frequent cleaning.

Some museums in the German states of Brandenburg and Thuringia have already re-opened.

Greece plans to open its museums and archaeological sites from May 18th onwards but only with protective procedures in place for both staff and visitors. Other tourist attractions like festivals and concerts are not likely to be open for a few more months yet.

In Italy, the country worst hit by the pandemic at time of writing, will re-open museum doors on May 18th but with protective measures in place. However you can’t just turn up on the day and expect to get entry. Tickets must be booked online and the suggestion is that they will have timed entry.

May 18th is also the day on which Belgian museums may re-open and the six museums that make up the Royal Museums of Fine Arts will open the following day.

But in France, it may be another month before the larger and famous museums re-open. Smaller museums may be able to re-open this month.

In the USA, it is the decision of the individual states on when they can re-open. For example, Texas has said that museums can re-open as from today although it seems few will do so. Florida can also re-open museums apart from in the three most popular counties provided that no more than a quarter of their capacity are allowed in  at any one time. Will museum directors accept the political decisions or stay shut?

Whatever happens abroad is being closely watched in the UK and Ireland. The belief is that we are two weeks or so behind the outbreak in Europe, That means that we may be able to visit museums and galleries again at the end of this month or early June. Provided all goes well abroad and then the decision comes down to us.

Will we want to visit or would we prefer to wait a bit longer?

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