Let me preface everything I am about to say with a solid “everything is still in flux right now and these plans are likely to change based on directives from state/local officials as well as my assessment of the outbreak situation and what is best for our visitors, members, and staff”…
Yes, the governor’s current statement and plan is that many facilities (including museums, etc.) can begin to reopen this Friday, 05/01, at a limited capacity of 25%. There is a caveat that hands-on exhibits must remain closed however. I believe the exact wording is, “All museums and libraries may open under the same 25% occupancy limitation, but interactive areas of museums must remain closed.” Of course the DSP is, by design, completely interactive and hands-on, so we will not reopen at this time. Depending on how phase 1 goes the governor may allow a facility such as ours to reopen in a limited capacity in mid-late May. We intend to take a cautious approach, but for now I am shooting for a limited reopening in late May.
We have always considered safety and cleanliness a major priority at the DSP- hand sanitizer stations are present throughout the museum, exhibits, screens and manipulatives are cleaned and sanitized regularly throughout the day, sanitation bins are present for items that guests feel need additional cleaning, play clothes are washed regularly, and a thorough cleaning occurs at close daily. All of these policies were in place long before COVID-19.
We are however instituting a number of new policies to do all we can to provide a safe environment for our guests.
- -We are creating a hand-washing station in our entry courtyard and will be asking all guests to wash their hands prior to entering the museum.
- -We will be limiting the number of visitors in the early stages of our reopening by using a ticketed admission system. This may include designated time slots for admission in which a visitor or member is required to obtain their ticket online ahead of time, or risk being turned away if we are at capacity. In this scenario we would have a short period between ticketed time slots in which the museum is guest-free, allowing us to clean and sanitize prior to the next time slot
- -While we are not likely to require that guests wear masks, it will be encouraged, and it is likely that our staff will be doing so.
- -We will be instituting a “no signature necessary” policy if our processor allows for credit card transactions at the front desk.
- -Finally, we will reserve the right to turn away any visitor who is showing obvious signs of illness.
Our hope is to balance the needs and safety of our community with our desire to serve our mission in the least constraining way possible for our guests. It’s a delicate balance that will require patience and understanding from our guests and is likely to evolve over time.
We are excited for our summer exhibit, “The Art and Science of Arachnids”. It was to open May 23rd, but we will be pushing our opening date back to late June or early July (a final date will be chosen in the next week or so). The good news is that we will be holding the exhibit over into early November, allowing us some great opportunities to have fun over the Halloween season! As this exhibit is not as “hands-on” as the rest of the DSP, and we can limit entry via ticketing, we feel it will be less impacted by the current crises.
Summer camps are likely to occur later in the summer, and will likely be limited in their capacity. But, we do expect to be able to hold camp in some fashion. More details will be forthcoming as we receive information from our state and local officials.
Please watch our website and social media channels for updates as we move forward regarding a re-opening date, new procedures, etc. We appreciate your patience. We want nothing more than to return to serving our mission as quickly as possible, but we must do so with visitor, staff, and community safety in mind.
Stay well and safe,
DSP Executive Director