Mandatory face masks, temperature checks, and more guidelines are being rolled out as the second phase of Italy’s reopening has just begun, also including the country’s museums, with strict social distancing measures in place.
According to Artnet, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has set guidelines that require advance reservations for museums and that all tickets may only be purchased online. What’s more, social distancing rules such as mandatory face masks and maintaining a six-foot distance apart between museum attendees must be followed. In the Vatican specifically, the restrictions are even tighter: the installation of thermoscanners for temperature readings are being installed, and the museum is also banning large group visits, secretary-general of the Vatican City State Governorate, Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, told Vatican News.
With over 30,000 deaths, 219,070 known cases, and a shuttered economy, Italy suffered the most during the COVID-19 health crisis in the whole of Europe, leaving many negative consequences. Normally over 1,000 employees on a day to day basis, the Vatican museums had to send their staff home with roughly 30 essential workers on the premises. While resorting to online presentations of their collections during the lockdown, “virtual reality can never replace reality. Let us not forget that what brings museums alive are people,” said Vérgez. “To enjoy art, you need your eyes and heart.”