Museums in China and South Korea Are Reopening, But Strict Restrictions Will Be Placed on Visitors

Visitors to museums in China will have their temperatures taken at the door.

A visitor wearing a protective mask at the Shanghai Museum. Photo: Yifan Ding/Getty Images.
A visitor wearing a protective mask at the Shanghai Museum. Photo: Yifan Ding/Getty Images.

As cultural institutions in the US continue rapidly to close their doors in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, there’s some good news coming from eastern Asia: museums in China and South Korea are reopening after aggressive lockdowns and quarantine procedures seem to have have curbed the spread of the disease.

More than 10 museums and galleries in Shanghai—including the China Art Museum, the Power Station of Art, and the Shanghai Museum—have reopened to the public today, according to local news reports. This marks the first time these institutions have opened since late January, when mainland China went into lockdown.

Restrictions are in place at each venue, with most requiring visitors to submit their health code—a state-mandated QR system that tracks a person’s risk level on a red-yellow-green scale—upon entry.

The Shanghai Museum, which houses a world-class collection of ancient Chinese artworks, is limiting itself to 2,000 visitors per day, and only 300 at any given time. Guests will have their temperatures taken upon entry, and will have to wear masks for the duration of their visits. 

Similar entrance policies are in place at the Power Station of Art, where the total number of visitors is limited to 500 per day, and reservations must be made in advance through the museum’s WeChat channel. The museum has also set up emergency quarantine areas on each floor, a spokesperson told the Art Newspaper

TAN also reports that the Edouard Malingue Gallery, the Art+Shanghai Gallery, and ArtCN have also opened. The Danysz Gallery will reopen by appointment starting next week.

In South Korea, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul is scheduled to reopen on March 23. But other museums in the capital city, such as the Seoul Museum of Art and the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, remain closed.

Visitors wearing protective masks watch a video clip in Shanghai Museum on March 13, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Photo: Yifan Ding/Getty Images.

Visitors wearing protective masks watch a video clip in Shanghai Museum on March 13, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Photo: Yifan Ding/Getty Images.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission announced that the “peak of the epidemic has passed” and that the number of cases was decreasing.

The country has had almost 81,000 cases and nearly 3,200 deaths to date. 

Officials in South Korea, the Asian country hit hardest outside China, also reported this week that the number of recoveries has outpaced the number of new cases for the first time since January.


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