Louvre Abu Dhabi, one of the capital's most popular cultural destinations Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: With the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT) has issued a series of regulations to guide the opening of museums and cultural sites in the emirate.

The venues were temporarily closed in March as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 outbreak, and their upcoming opening was announced only last week.

In a statement sent today, the DCT said the openings aim to help communities and visitors recover from the strain of the prolonged period of lockdown imposed during the last few months.

“We believe that art and culture have the power to help people come together and heal and at DCT Abu Dhabi we are proud to be able to enable that through the work that we do, leveraging the power inherent in art to help re-engage the community and support its return to normalcy in these unprecedented times,” said Saood Al Hosani, acting undersecretary at the DCT.

“To enable this, and as per our mandate to provide support for the culture sector in Abu Dhabi, strict measures will be implemented at all our cultural sites and museums which will ensure that visitors will have a high degree of confidence that their health and safety will be of paramount importance when they visit, which means they can enjoy the sites with an enhanced peace of mind,” he added.

Before reopening to guests, all sites are required to conduct comprehensive risk assessments regarding ensuring the health and safety of everyone visiting the site, with a site-specific compliance monitoring procedure also put in place.

Based on the application and implementation of all DCT guidelines, the authority will approve the reopening of each facility.

In order to ensure social distancing, the DCT has said that the facilities must implement the following measures:

Social distancing

Sites can entertain visitors up to only 40 per cent of their total capacity, and a red sign must be placed at the entrance to specify this.

Clear floor markers must be put in to enable social distancing throughout the venue.

Staff must avoid working in groups.

Crowd control

The duration of a visit cannot exceed three hours.

Workshops, tours and classes must remain suspended and no activities are permitted.

Safety and sanitisation

Thermal cameras and sterilisers have to be installed at all entrances.

Glass partitions have to be put up wherever possible to limit human contact.

All touchscreens have to be removed from the facility.

Digital guides must be shared with visitors instead of printed ones.

All staff members must undergo daily and periodical temperature checks.

Facilities must be cleaned and sterilised regularly.

Everyone must wear gloves and masks at all times.

Employees cannot be allowed to return to work unless they test negative for COVID-19.

A room must be allocated for mandatory isolation of suspected cases.