Last week major museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, including the Tate galleries and London’s National Gallery, confirmed reopening dates for the summer. But a new survey indicates that the British public may not flock to them once they throw their doors back open.
A new survey conducted by the London-based market research company Ipsos Mori found that nearly half of the British public has doubts about coming back to art institutions right now. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they are “not very comfortable” or “not at all comfortable” with visiting exhibitions or museums in the U.K. despite new measures implemented to minimize the risk of contracting Covid-19. Thirty-four percent of people reported they were “very” or “fairly” comfortable visiting museums.
London’s National Gallery will be the first major British museum to reopen on July 8, followed by the Tate galleries, which includes Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate St Ives, and Tate Liverpool, on July 27. London’s Whitechapel Gallery and Royal Academy will also reopen in July, while the Serpentine Galleries will initiate a phased reopening on August 4.
Visitors to the National Gallery will be required to book tickets in advance online and wear face masks within the galleries. Opening hours at that museum will be cut from eight hours a day to just five. On Fridays, however, the museum will be open for 10 hours. Officials expect to welcome around 3,000 daily visitors after reopening—accounting for roughly a quarter of the typical attendance that the museum experiences during the summer.
The survey also reported that, of the roughly 1,000 British adults questioned in the survey, 51 percent were more comfortable with indoor shopping. Around 60 percent expressed concerns over bars and movie theaters, which reopened after lockdown restrictions were eased on July 4. A similar poll conducted in May reported 17 percent of respondents were uncomfortable visiting cultural spaces.