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Art lovers rejoice! Chrysler art museum to re-open with new safety guidelines in place

Visitors must reserve tickets online for a specific time slot and yes, you'll need a face mask.

NORFOLK, Va. — After a long three-month-long closure, the Chrysler Museum of Art is opening back up to visitors.

But museum director Erik Neil said visitors can expect a few changes. He said he's pleased they can once again open the doors to the community, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“These are certainly troubled times in many ways and I think the museum can be a great space to think about things, maybe engage in some of those issues. We have a role to play and we want to play it,” Neil said. “We’re taking a lot of new measures, safety measures, and maybe one step at a time. But we’re very happy that we’re going to be open next week.”

Everyone above the age of three will be required to wear face masks and much like grocery stores and hair salons, the museum is limiting the number of people allowed in. The museum will operate at 25 percent of its total capacity.

You must also reserve tickets in advance for a specific time slot to visit, although walk-ins are allowed if the museum isn't busy.

“You can walk up, it’s possible," Neil said. "But we might then give you a time that you can come back.” 

Neil said the museum naturally has good ventilation because of the artwork, and it’s full of big galleries so he’s not expecting too many issues with social distancing.

"Even I think in a normal time, we’re fortunate that people don’t tend to crowd each other out," he said. "We’ve got a lot of great art, we’ve got a lot of big galleries, so from that standpoint, we’re really, just by nature, well-positioned.”

The gift shop will be open and so will the restaurant, but food is limited to grab-and-go options.

Neil said like a lot of other museums, the closure hasn’t been easy, financially. Staff still worked to put on virtual programs but they didn’t have any rentals because of the coronavirus and donations have slowed.

“We haven’t really been pushing the fundraising as we might under normal circumstances," Neil said. "People have a lot to worry about, so we’ve definitely taken a hit.”

The Chrysler will open to members next week Tuesday, and will open to everyone else next week Saturday.

As always, it’s free to get in.

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