THE SHETLAND Museum and Archives is set to reopen a week today (16 July) with extra social distancing measures in place.
Opening will be subject to final approval from trustees and Shetland Islands Council.
Visitors will be asked to book online or phone before visiting, while one-way systems have been implemented across the building.
Timed tickets will enable people to explore the different sections of the building while maintaining social distancing.
An indoor picnic area has also been created while the upstairs cafe remains closed.
The building has been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with tourist trade limited locals are being encouraged to “rediscover Shetland’s heritage in their own five-star museum”.
Head of engagement at operator Shetland Amenity Trust Sandy Middleton said: “Even if the ‘two metre rule’ is relaxed, we will stick to two metres as best practice – we want people to feel safe and to have a natural flow through the site whilst ensuring people can enjoy all we have to offer.
“The ticket system means that there are no crowds around display cases and galleries so the whole experience should be pleasant and relaxed.
“We are also developing a variety of activities specifically for our younger visitors and encouraging people to bring a picnic with them. Without the usual crowds of tourists, this is the perfect time for locals to rediscover Shetland’s heritage in their own five star museum.”
Full risk assessments and building checks have been completed and cleaning and sanitation procedures have been stepped up too.
Visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitiser at regular intervals during their visit and asked to wear face coverings.
It is not positive news for the trust’s Crofthouse Museum in the south mainland, however.
Due to its size social distancing is not possible – meaning it will remain closed for the rest of the season.
“We are also working hard on phased reopening plans for our visitor attraction at Sumburgh Head and our Lighthouse and Camping Bod accommodation and hope to announce these soon,” Middleton said.
“A review and risk assessment has also been undertaken for the Crofthouse Museum at Boddam.
“Unfortunately, due to the nature of this historic building, the introduction of social distancing on the site is not currently possible and as such it will likely remain closed for the remainder of the season.”
Earlier this week Shetland Arts confirmed that Mareel would reopen in late August with reduced hours and social distancing measures in place.
The outdoor seating area of Bonhoga Gallery will reopen on 1 August, with its indoors and shop following on 31 August.
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