Reopening Checklist – FAQs

Working safely during Coronavirus – updated step 4 guidance (July 2021): 


What do we HAVE to do before reopening?

Every museum must carry out risk assessments to show how they will manage the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to provide a safe environment for staff, volunteers and the public. The solutions to this will depend on the circumstances, layout etc of your museum. Checklist point 2 considers risk assessment and section 6 of the Guidelines  provides a range of practical advice on the steps that you might want to consider to create a safe and secure environment.

What are our legal responsibilities?

The legal framework for operating during the pandemic is currently set by government Coronavirus Act (2020) and (in England) The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.  Beyond this, we continue to operate under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and any new practices designed to prevent Covid 19 infection should be made in accordance with your Health and Safety Policy and a risk assessment framework. You must also ensure that any changes you make continue to comply with the Equality Act (2010) and do not disadvantage disabled people in comparison with non-disabled people (and that you are making reasonable adjustments).

How can we welcome volunteers back to the workplace safely?

This is covered in 3.1 of the Guidelines. Volunteers should only return to their roles in the museum if:

a) The correct legal framework is in place for reopening museums (Principle 1) and, where applicable, you follow current advice on protecting people who are at higher risk (this applies to paid staff and volunteers).

b) Volunteer activities and roles have been risk assessed and any mitigating measures – e.g. adaption to workspaces, training, enhanced hygiene practices are in place to ensure that they can carry out their volunteer work safely.

c) They are willing to return. Volunteers can decide whether they wish to return, and they should be included in consultation, training and communications about reopening.

d) Provision is made for maintaining volunteer wellbeing (including for those who may not be able to return). UK gov has produced related advice: Enabling safe and effective volunteering>>

I can’t find the exact answer to my question about reopening!

No guidance can possibly cover all the issues or considerations and challenges reopening might raise, but the Guidelines do include a wide range of scenarios. More detailed guidance and signposting to other resources on specific topics (for example the South East Museum Development Reopening Toolkit and examples of how other museums are tackling issues will be held by your Museum Development team, so do check out their website resources and get in touch.

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