Coronavirus Canada updates: Quebec’s museums, libraries and drive-ins can reopen May 29

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Coronavirus Canada updates: Quebec's museums, libraries and drive-ins can reopen May 29
Coronavirus Canada updates: Quebec's museums, libraries and drive-ins can reopen May 29

As restrictions on gatherings, travel and other activities are being gradually eased, Quebecers missing a visit to the museum or night at the drive-in are in luck.

Starting May 29, museums, libraries and drive-in cinemas will be permitted to reopen across the province.

“The nature of culture is being together, going to shows,” said Quebec Culture Minister Nathalie Roy, who made the announcement at a news conference Friday in Montreal.

“Art, as we have seen, is good for our health.”

But it won’t be business as usual when museums open their doors. They will not be permitted to host vernissages or other events, nor will they be allowed to hold guided tours.

Guidelines put out by Quebec’s workplace health and safety board, CNESST, also suggest limiting the number of people inside at the same time, to make it easier to ensure visitors can keep two metres’ distance from others.

And while they are allowed to reopen next week, it will take longer for some museums to adapt to those guidelines. In Montreal, the McCord Museum will reopen on June 23 and the Stewart Museum on June 25.

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal will announce its reopening plans next week.

In Quebec City, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) will reopen on June 29. The MNBAQ’s Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit, which was originally set to close this month, will continue to run until Sept. 7.

“These rules permit a peaceful reconnection with the pleasure of seeing real works of art,” said the museum’s director, Jean-Luc Murray, in a statement.

No browsing at the library

Libraries across the province will also operate differently when they reopen. The public will only be permitted to access a designated area around service counters, and will not be able to browse the library’s book aisles.

Visitors will also not be able to use library computers.

The CNESST recommends, if possible, that returned books are not touched for 24 hours.

Work at recording studios will be able to resume June 1, but under specific conditions. Performers must stay two metres away from one another, and the technical crew cannot exceed five people.

Quebecers will have to wait a while longer to experience a live performance, however. Public health has not yet given the go-ahead for concerts or theatre productions to resume.

“Now is the time more than ever to support our artists, consume our culture,” Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said at the news conference.

She said the province recognizes that many artists have lost their way to make a living, as concert halls, stages and film sets have gone silent.

“We have not forgotten you,” she said.

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