1 of 2 | Members wear face masks as they tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 27 (UPI) -- New York City's Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened to the public Thursday, more than five months after they shuttered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MoMA fully opened to all members of the public, while the Met allowed only members to enter Thursday. The latter will allow all visitors beginning Saturday and visitors to the Met Cloisters in Washington Heights on Sept. 12.
Both museums closed March 12 due to the spread of the virus, which severely hit New York City in the spring.
MoMA officials said tickets for the museum, which normally cost up to $25, will be free for its first month after reopening. All visitors must reserve timed-entry tickets in advance of their visit using the MoMA.org website.
"We have been carefully preparing for the reopening of The Museum of Modern Art for months, to ensure the safe return of our staff and visitors, and we are ready to welcome everyone back to our recently expanded and reimagined museum," said Glenn Lowry, the David Rockefeller director at MoMA.
"With new safety protocols and procedures in place, our audiences can continue to enjoy an unparalleled experience of our collection galleries and exhibitions and, we hope, find solace and inspiration here."
To begin allowing visits, the museums implemented a series of new measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Among the measures in place at both institutions are:
-- Reduced capacity to encourage and foster social distancing among guests and staff.
-- Face mask requirement for everyone over age 2.
-- Temperature checks prior to entering the buildings.
-- No bag or coat checks.
-- The installation of hand sanitizer dispensers.
-- On-site dining will remain closed or limited.
The MoMA has also installed plexiglass barriers at ticketing and points-of-sale desks, and halted the use of museum-issued physical audio guides.
Pedestrians wear face masks as they walk by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Thursday as the museum begins to reopen for members. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo