As most of New York City remains shut for non-essential businesses, one institution, the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art plans to reopen to the public in mid-August or perhaps, “in weeks ahead”. In an official statement released on May 19, the museum announced that with New York State’s cautious, phased plan for reopening it will resume services that were deferred from the date 1 July over coronavirus concerns, according to local media reports.
The Met led the way for many art institutions as it shuttered in response to Covid-19 contagion in New York City as of 12 March. Earlier, the institution declared a budget shortfall of as much as $150m for current and next fiscal year due to loss of revenue as admissions were halted, and museum prohibited the visitors due to ongoing pandemic situation. Further, retail operations, event rentals, and other income sources were curbed, and as many as 81 staff members were laid off, local reports confirmed.
However, as Governor Andrew Cuomo made clear that cultural activities would be allowed only in phase 4 in each region of New York state, The Met announced that it will resume an exhibit called "Making the Met" to mark the institution's 150th anniversary, as per the statement. In fact, to fit the criteria, it will hold off from offering lectures or concerts until late 2020 to avoid large gatherings.
In a letter, President Daniel H. Weiss reportedly said that The Met endured much in its 150 years, and today continues as a beacon of hope for the future. He said the museum was a profound reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the power of art to offer comfort, inspiration, and community. Amid challenging and uncertain times, the institution was encouraged by looking forward to when it could once again resume The Met’s collection and exhibitions, he added.
Further, in a discussion about its planned model for the safe resumption of business, The Met said in a statement that the days and hours in which visitors can frequent the museum are likely to be reduced. Given the need to provide an environment that respects social distance requirements, it added, precautions like keeping six feet apart will be adhered to. All visitors must wear protective masks, while temperature checks will be held at the entrance. Earlier, the museum postponed its Costume Institute benefit, the Met Gala, originally scheduled for 4 May, according to reports. The Costume Institute exhibition, the theme of the gala, About Time: Fashion and Duration, will nonetheless open on 29 October, the museum reportedly said.