After being closed to the public for nearly three months because of Italy’s coronavirus lock down, the Vatican Museums (and the Pontifical Villa of Castel Gandolfo) are set to reopen as the country gradually eases its restrictions.
The Museums are set to reopen on the 1st of June, with visitors subject to strict health measures. Vatican Director of Health and Hygiene Andrea Arcangeli said:
“Those entering the museum will have their temperatures taken with the thermal scanner. They will have to wear face masks, and they’ll have to disinfect their hands with sanitizer.”
Head Inspector of the Vatican Museums Diego Ortuso added that not only will visitors follow measures, so will the staff members working there.
“All Vatican Museum staff members in contact with the public will have to wear gloves and masks. One team will be in charge of ensuring safety distances are respected.”
In addition, entry will only be allowed to those who have reserved tickets online in advance of their visit, to reduce crowding and stagger entry times at the Museums. Visiting groups are limited to a max of ten people who must reserve a table in the courtyard if they want one online in advance because social distancing restrictions have made them scarce. The customary free visit typically held on the last Sunday of the month was also cancelled.
A medical and health team from Italy’s Misericordie volunteer group and the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Department will be present to assist with any need during the new opening hours of 10 – 8, except on Fridays and Saturdays when they’ll be open two more hours until 10.
The Vatican said that despite the intense restrictions, the “dynamics of a visit is not … distorted in its essence.”
Commenting on the reopening of the Museums, Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga said “I would like this moment of difficulty to turn into an opportunity.”
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