Museums and Other New York Cultural Institutions Can Open Aug. 24

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Museums and other cultural institutions will be allowed to open in New York City starting on Aug. 24, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday, following five months of a pandemic shutdown that has resulted in substantial layoffs and financial crises for many of these organizations.

The announcement came as the state has seen less than 1 percent of all coronavirus tests return positive for seven straight days, Mr. Cuomo said in a news conference. Mr. Cuomo surprised administrators by announcing last month that museums would not be allowed to open in Phase 4, which started on July 20.

The plans for a lifted lockdown on cultural institutions come with some significant restrictions on the reintroduction of visitors. They will be required to keep the building at 25 percent occupancy and to use a timed ticketing system, which would allow museums to carefully regulate how many people are entering at once.

The state also will require museums to control the flow of traffic through their buildings, and face coverings will be compulsory.

“Given the results that we have and the progress that we’ve made, we’re going to make some more changes and adjustment,” Mr. Cuomo said at the news conference.

Museum officials have already begun factoring in reduced capacity restrictions into their plans for the fall. This month, the Metropolitan Museum of Art laid off 79 staff members and furloughed many more in anticipation that they would not be allowed to welcome as many visitors as they did at once before the pandemic struck. The Met had previously announced a reopening date of Aug. 29, though it said it was awaiting for direction from the state and city.

Michael Gold contributed reporting.

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