PLEASE NOTE: Museum operations have changed since this blog was published. To help limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Museum is closing to the public through June 10. More details can be found here.
The Museum understands that with the heightened awareness and concern about limiting the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) guests have many questions about Museum operations. The information below addresses the questions we have received most often.
Has the Museum changed operations?
The Museum’s normal operations and programming are continuing at this time. If there is new information or data available that impacts our operations, we will respond accordingly.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rapidly changing public health situation, but at this point we feel the appropriate action is to take this opportunity to review policies, procedures and activities. If updates or changes are needed, we will make them.
Governor Northam’s team is in regular consultation with federal officials, and is working closely with first responders, health care providers, hospitals, local health districts and experts at the Virginia Department of Health. Should the governor make changes to state agency operations, we will abide by the recommendations or requirements made at that time.
What precautions are in place at the Museum?
The Museum employs a strict cleaning protocol designed to keep our facility as hygienic as possible. Twice a day our facilities team wipes down hard surfaces such as handrails, door handles, elevator buttons and other surfaces regularly touched by guests and employees with a disinfectant. Hard surfaces within the exhibits are wiped with disinfectant each morning, and restrooms are cleaned three times a day.
In response to the concern about limiting the spread of COVID-19, the Museum is making additional disinfectant available to staff who are being instructed to include additional cleanings into their workday.
These efforts do not take the place of vigilance by our guests. Handwashing is one of the best defenses against the spread of disease and all our restrooms are stocked with an ample supply of antibacterial soap. Guests are encouraged to wash their hands regularly. We have added additional signage in the restrooms and throughout the Museum to remind everyone of the most effective handwashing procedures.
There are also numerous hand sanitizer stations sprinkled throughout the Museum for guests to use should they so choose. If guests, or their family members, are exhibiting any signs of illness – coughing, fever, digestive issues, sneezing, etc. – we ask they postpone their visit and come when they are well.
Can I wear protective gear at the Museum?
If guests would like to wear a facemask or gloves while visiting, Museum staff will not ask them to remove those items. However, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control have stated that, particularly when it comes to COVID-19, face masks are not effective in preventing the general public from catching the virus, and the public should not buy masks that could otherwise be available for the medical community.
When would the Museum close?
The Museum is a state agency of the commonwealth of Virginia. Should the governor make any statewide changes, we will abide by the recommendations or requirements made at that time.
If a guest or employee informs us they tested positive for COVID-19, we will follow the direction of public health officials, which could include closing the Museum and canceling scheduled activities and events. If that happens, we will close for thorough disinfection, which could last several days. We will reopen when it is deemed safe by public health officials.
The health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors – guests, employees, volunteers, interns, partners, vendors and special event attendees – is always a top priority. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation at this time. For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website.