After being closed for nearly half a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York City’s world-famous museums are starting to reopen. On August 14—the seventh straight day that the statewide infection rate was below 1 percent—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that city museums and aquariums could reopen in August with strict safety protocols in place. While museums could start welcoming back visitors as early as Monday, August 24, bowling alleys were allowed to reopen even earlier on Monday, August 17. Indoor dining is still closed in the city for now.
“This pandemic is far from over, but we’ve determined that institutions can reopen if they adhere to strict state guidance and take every precaution to keep visitors safe, and I look forward to seeing them inspire New Yorkers once again,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.
What are the new safety protocols in place?
New York City museums and other cultural institutes were allowed to reopen on August 24, as long as they follow new state-mandated safety protocols, including a 25 percent maximum occupancy limit, and strict enforcement of face coverings. Social distancing will be enforced through mandatory timed ticketing with pre-set, staggered entry. Once you’re inside the museums, traffic flow will also be controlled to avoid crowding.
Bowling alleys could reopen starting August 17, with a 50 percent maximum occupancy limit. Face coverings are mandatory and social distancing will be enforced by keeping every other lane closed. In addition to requiring thorough cleaning and disinfection of shared or rented equipment between each use, food and beverage service will not be allowed since indoor dining is still not permitted in New York City yet.
When exactly will museums reopen in NYC?
Even though museums could reopen as early as August 24, each institution is setting its own dates for when it is ready to welcome back visitors. Here’s what we know so far:
MoMA reopened August 27
The main MoMA museum in Manhattan reopened on August 27. Timed entry tickets are released one week in advance in one-week blocks, every Friday at 10:00 a.m. ET. Access will be free through September 27, thanks to the museum’s partnership with the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo. (Paid general admission tickets for September 28 through October 31 are also available currently)
While the museum will be open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays will be reserved exclusively for members and their guests. All guests age two and older will be required to wear a mask.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened August 29
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now open Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The museum will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. All visitors over the age of two will be required to wear face masks, and restrooms will have occupancy limits. Because visitor capacity will be reduced and controlled, the museum cannot guarantee that all galleries will be open to the public. Hand sanitizer is provided at entrances and at stations throughout the museum.
Whitney Museum of American Art is reopening September 3
Over in the Meatpacking District, The Whitney is reopening on September 3, with “Pay What You Wish” admission through September 28. All tickets must be booked in advance.
The American Museum of Natural History is reopening September 9
According to its website, the American Museum of Natural History says it will reopen on September 9 to the general public, with previews for members and invited guests starting September 2. Its new hours will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. All visitors ages two and up will be required to wear face masks during their visit. Both elevators and restrooms will have limited capacity at the museum, and all interactive displays and “touchable exhibit elements” will be cordoned off. Hand sanitizer stations will be provided throughout the museum.
The Brooklyn Museum is reopening September 12
Timed entry tickets are now available for the Brooklyn Museum in 15-minute increments. The museum will be open all days starting September 12, except Mondays and Tuesdays. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Fridays and Saturdays when the museum stays open to 8 p.m.
The Met Cloisters is reopening September 12
The Met Cloisters museum announced that it will reopen on Saturday, September 12. From Thursday to Monday the museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
MoMA PS1 is reopening September 17
MoMa’s sister site in Queens, MoMA PS1, will reopen on September 17. Timed entry tickets will be available starting September 10. The museum will be open from 12 to 6 p.m. every day but Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The Guggenheim is reopening October 3
The Guggenheim is reopening to the public on October 3, and is offering early access for members from September 30 to October 2. For every $25 admission ticket purchased in advance of the museum’s reopening, the Guggenheim will give a complimentary family pass to an essential worker.
We will continue to update this piece as more NYC museums announce their official reopening dates.