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This is what a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery will look like this summer

The Gallery is reopening its doors on June 15, and offering frontline workers free access.
The Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo: Getty Images

The Vancouver Art Gallery is reopening to the public later this month, but visiting the local institution will look a little different than it did pre-pandemic. 

The Gallery has released a new list of health and safety protocols it will be implementing when doors reopen on Monday, June 15, in accordance with provincial health guidelines aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19.  

The four-floor gallery will be capping its guest capacity to 225 visitors at a time, in addition to using floor markers and signage in an effort to prevent any congestion. 

As a way of managing this capacity - as well as preventing crowding or queuing - guests will have to purchase timed-entry tickets from the Gallery’s website in advance of their visit. Ticket bookings will be based on one-hour intervals. The online system for booking these timed-entry tickets will open to members beginning Tuesday, June 9, before going on sale to the general public on Thursday, June 11.

Once inside the galleries, visitors will be asked to keep at least two metres between themselves and others, while household groups may remain together. The Gallery is also strongly encouraging its visitors to wear masks while perusing its artworks. Visitors will be able to purchase masks from the Gallery “at a nominal cost,” staff explained in the release. Scannable QR codes will be on display that guests can use to download a copy of the Gallery’s Visitors’ Guide. 

Plexiglass barriers are also being installed at service desks, while hand sanitizer will be available in the lobby. Staff will maintain “stringent cleaning practices,” especially when it comes to frequently-touched items and locations throughout the Gallery. 

Visitors are asked to self-assess before a trip to the gallery and to stay home if they’re not feeling well. 

As large group gatherings continue to be discouraged by public health officials, The Vancouver Art Gallery has postponed all public tours, onsite school and adult programs and special events, including social events and exhibition openings, until further notice. 

Another new initiative from the Gallery aims to salute “the tireless work and sacrifices of BC’s frontline workers – our local heroes,” read the release. The Gallery is offering these employees two mornings of free, early access admission during the first week of reopening.

Following a “special reopening day” for members, artists and donors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 15, frontline workers and their families will be able to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery for free from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 16 and Friday, June 19. 

(Visit the Gallery’s website for an updated list of new opening hours for the general public). 

“Art can help us to heal and provide opportunities for reflection, laughter and joy, something we can all use after this lengthy period of isolation,” expressed Daina Augaitis, interim director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, in a release. 

“With plenty of room for physical distancing, the Gallery offers a safe space for visitors to revisit their favourite artworks or discover new ones.”

The landmark reopens to the public with a lengthy list of both new and extended exhibitions, including the highly-anticipated Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia. While that exhibition was originally scheduled for a May opening, it will now open for viewing on July 18.

The establishment’s 1931 Gallery Bistro will also be open for business, but will limit capacity to 50 per cent in an effort to ensure physical distancing.
The Bistro will be open from Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. 

For more information about the Vancouver Art Gallery’s current exhibitions, opening hours and more, head to its website. 

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