The Minnesota Children's Museum has announced it will reopen — with social distancing and masks — at the beginning of August.
Reservations will be required so that the museum can manage a capacity that allows for social distancing. In addition, all staff and visitors over the age of 5 must wear a mask, with masks "strongly encouraged" for children between 2 and 4 years old.
Visitors are also encouraged to use the stairs as much as possible, and elevator use will be limited to one visiting group at a time. Water fountains have been turned off, and visitors are asked not to bring in outside food.
According to its website, other safety measures the museum is taking include:
- "Enhanced our procedures for cleaning and sanitizing all museum spaces
- Put up Plexiglass barriers in the box office and security desk area
- Installed additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the museum
- Removed soft props and costumes
- Removed or modified some experiences, including face painting and air play
- Upgraded air filters and created new protocol for monitoring air flow
- Created process for staff wellness checks to be performed daily"
In mid-March, the museum planned a 12-week closure, which it said at the time would cause it to lose more than $2 million in revenue. It said it temporarily laid off about 75 percent of its workforce, and the museum's president, Diane Krizan, said she would take a 75 percent pay cut.
About $5.5 million of the museum's $9 million budget comes from program revenue, while employee salaries account for two-thirds of the nonprofit museum's expenses, the Star Tribune reports.
"The museum feels strongly about providing playful learning opportunities as our community emerges from the pandemic. Play sparks joy. Play eases the effects of stress and anxiety. Kids learn, grow and expand their minds through play," its website reads.
Gov. Tim Walz, on Wednesday, used executive power to mandate masks statewide in all public indoor spaces beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday. Kids 2 and under should not wear masks due to a suffocation risk, the Minnesota Department of Health warns.