A man looks at 'Atlas Photographique de la lune' (1894-1908) by Maurice Loewy and Pierre Henri Puiseux on July 1, 2019, part of a new exhibition by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to open on July 3, 2019, called 'Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography'. (AFP/Thomas Urbain)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York said Tuesday it hopes to reopen in mid-August or a few weeks later with reduced visiting hours and no guided tours so as to encourage social distancing.
Closed since March 13, this is the first major museum in the city to announce a date for reopening, even though Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to say when the Big Apple will get back to business with an easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.
His plan calls for a reopening in four phases in each region of New York state.
Resuming cultural activities is allowed only in phase four. New York City has yet to be allowed to undertake even phase one.
Besides the scaled-back visiting hours and lack of guided tours, the Met also said it will hold off from offering lectures or concerts until late 2020 so as to avoid large gatherings that could spread the coronavirus.
With the reopening, an exhibit called "Making the Met" celebrating the institution's 150th anniversary will finally get underway. It had been due to start March 30.
"As we endure these challenging and uncertain times, we are encouraged by looking forward to the day when we can once again welcome all to enjoy The Met’s collection and exhibitions," museum president Daniel Weiss said.
In mid-March, Weiss and museum director Max Hollein forecast losses of nearly $100 million this year because of the lockdown, assuming the museum reopened in July, according to an internal document quoted by The New York Times.
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