OTTAWA -- The National Gallery of Canada opens its doors to the public this weekend for the first time in four months.

The gallery on Sussex Drive begins the first phase of reopening on Saturday, with reduced hours and physical distancing protocols in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19.  Admission will be free this weekend for visitors.

The gallery will be open Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will remain open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

The National Gallery of Canada's Chief of Marketing, Communications and New Media Gay Decker told CTV Morning Live "we are so excited to be welcoming visitors back to the National Gallery of Canada."

All national museums in Ottawa and Gatineau closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Decker said the National Gallery of Canada established committees to develop the protocols to reopen the museum safely for the public. Special signage will remind visitors of physical distancing measures and indicate the route to follow during the visit.

"The key thing to know is that we've changed the visitor journey so now we only have one entrance and one exit," said Decker on Friday morning.

"The reason we've done that is we want to closely monitor the number of people coming into the gallery at any one time."

Decker says masks will be available for any visitor that doesn't have a mask, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the gallery.

Capacity has been reduced to 30 per cent of normal to encourage physical distancing.

The cafeteria and 7 Tapas Bar will remain closed until further notice. The Second Cup near the Group Entrance will also remain closed.