Reopen NYC: The Met opens its doors with restrictions amid COVID pandemic

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The road to reopening makes a much-anticipated stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The iconic museum on the Upper East Side will reopen Saturday morning, more than five months after it shut down as the pandemic took hold.

There will, however, be some new safety protocols in place, including mandatory face coverings for staff and visitors, more frequent cleanings -- especially of high-touch areas, and an emphasis on hand washing, with sanitizing stations throughout the museum.

The Met will also be limited to 25%. On a normal day the largest museum in the country, before coronavirus, hosted 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a day.

Last year, the museum drew 7 million visitors.

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Sandra Bookman got a look inside to see the changes visitors can expect.


Each visitor will have their temperature checked and face masks are required to be worn at all times.

Social distancing guidelines will also be enforced.

The museum, which is celebrating its 150th year, opens five days a week instead of the normal seven.

Free bicycle parking is also available.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen its doors to visitors on Saturday and Eyewitness News got a look inside to see the changes visitors can expect.

"It's exciting to be back again."

Those words today from Will Sullivan, head of Visitor Experience at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as he walked through the museum's empty great hall.

On Saturday, the Met will reopen its doors for the first time since March 13. It and most of New York City's cultural institutions were shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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When the museum reopens on Saturday, there will be some new safety protocols in place, including mandatory face coverings for staff and visitors, more frequent cleanings -- especially of high-touch areas, and an emphasis on handwashing...with sanitizing stations throughout the museum.
Museum capacity will also be limited to 25 percent. On a normal day, before coronavirus, the Met hosted 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a day.

Now, all visitors will have their temperatures checked upon entry. The Met has also implemented timed ticketing and advance ticket purchases.

Some New Yorkers said they see this as a sign that the city is slowly making it's way back.

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