Another round of businesses around the state, including museums, will begin to reopen Wednesday as part of Gov. Ned Lamont’s phase two plan.
While a few museums in Bristol will be opening during this time, museums in New Britain will not.
Imagine Nation in Bristol reopened its Early Learning School Monday. Sara Castle, director of early childhood, said normally Imagine Nation makes use of its museum studios to enhance learning. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and current restrictions, they won’t be able to do that this year. However, they will still be using their outdoor play areas and parking lot for programs. Castle said there will also be an increased focus on social-emotional health.
“We will help (the children) understand what is going on and why people are wearing masks,” she said.
The New England Carousel Museum and the Museum of Fire History in Bristol are set to officially reopen Saturday. The facility will be limited to 10 visitors at a time for the time being. Reservations must be made online or by phone ahead of time and name and addresses for each guest must be provided prior to entering the museum for COVID-19 contact tracing.
Also, masks are required and visitors are asked to keep 6 to 10 feet from tour groups at all times and stand in designated areas. The museum will have 10 sanitizing locations set up throughout the building.
“We are encouraging and requiring people to give us a head’s up when they want to come by so we can plan for the number of folks in the building,” said Morgan Urgo, New England Carousel Museum director. “Our guided tours are at noon and 2 p.m.”
The American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol continues to remain closed at this time.
New Britain Youth Museum and Hungerford Nature Center will remain closed at this time as well until further notice. They encourage all who are interested to visit their site for upcoming programs and events, but there was no projected reopen date.
The New Britain Museum of American Art will not be opening its physical doors this week either, but intend to unveil its complete reopening plan and timeline very soon, according to Lisa Lappe, director of marketing.
“Our digital doors remained open the entire time,” said Lappe, referring to their website which they keep frequently updated.
Phase 2 of reopening states that businesses such as museums, zoos and aquariums may open outdoor and indoor exhibits at 50% capacity. The businesses must calculate a maximum occupancy that is consistent with social distancing guidelines or 50% of fire code capacity, whichever is lower. Signage, floor markings and enhanced presence of attendants and other personnel should be displayed to enforce such occupancy rate. Visual social distancing markers should be installed to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart.
Museums must exercise caution throughout the reopening, ensuring strict adherence to protocols such as social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing that will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A complete thorough cleaning of the facility has to be done prior to reopening, the bathrooms must be cleaned and disinfected frequently, hand sanitizer is to be made available at entrance points and common areas, and touchless payment options and limiting cash and paper receipt transactions is recommended.