Ottawa-Gatineau museums likely to remain closed all summer due to pandemic
OTTAWA -- Museums in Ottawa remain closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but; with so many businesses slowly opening up, does that mean they’re next?
Jantine Van Kregten is with Ottawa Tourism, “May and June are amongst the busiest months for tourism in Ottawa.”
It is a time when museums in the capital region remain closed. Mark O’Neill is President of the Canadian Museum of History.
“Basically, the end of April or thereabouts until June it’s not unusual for there to be up to 5,000 visitors a day.”
Lisa LeBlanc is the Director General, Canada Science and Technology Museum, “For us, being closed during this period certainly has a huge, huge impact on our financial scenario.”
Normally a busy spring and summer season, it is an important time for museums. O’Neill does not think they will be opening anytime soon.
“No indication at this time from the Public Health Agency of Canada that large public spaces, which welcome in our case literally millions of people, should be re-opening.”
The Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum saying they likely won’t re-open before the fall. Similar words for the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
“If we do open this summer, I suspect it will be later in the summer,” says LeBlanc.
The National Art Gallery, as well as the Canadian Museum of Nature echoing those words.
Ailsa Barry is with the Canadian Museum of Nature, “We don’t currently know when we’re opening, so what we’re doing is working very hard to get ready to open as soon as possible.”
In addition, when they do open, what will the exhibits look like?
Barry explains, “Working primarily to kind of pacing, social distancing, and cleanliness regime.”
Meaning high-touch or interactive areas could remain closed at first, such as at the Canada Science and Technology Museum as LeBlanc describes.
“Whether that’s really high-interactive spaces; whether that’s screens - what are some of the things that we’re able to put into place or mitigate or manage comfort, but always really thinking about that heath and safety first and foremost.”
Barry is putting visitors first, at the Canadian Museum of Nature, “We want our visitors to be safe and feel safe.”
Visitors are needed to support local businesses. Mathieu Fleury is an Ottawa Councillor, and would like to see people visiting the Byward Market safely,
“Opening your doors is very important for our economy, to bring people into the core - but also to start thinking, could there be local tourists?”
Van Kregten hopes that Ottawa residents will enjoy staycations this summer.
“Be a tourist in your own town, that’s definitely the first wave will be hyper local tourism.”
Can’t wait to visit a Museum? Many are offering virtual tours or exhibits, or special interactive online events: