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'The art was lonely:' Ottawa galleries, museums begin to reopen

Museums and galleries in Ontario had been closed since mid-March. 
2018-04-28 OAG5
Ottawa Art Gallery. Photo/ OAG

Ottawa's museums and galleries have started reopening after COVID-19 restrictions, but there are some changes that patrons will need to heed before paying a visit.

The Ottawa Art Gallery opened its doors on Wednesday, with the first day reserved for frontline workers. The general public was allowed to tour the gallery beginning on Thursday.

"The art was lonely," jokes CEO Alexandra Badzak. "We're very happy to have people back in the building, that's our job; we're here to bring a connection between art and our community."

In a very abnormal time of navigating a world of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, Badzak notes that a visit to a gallery can help provide some relief.

"We know that art is a really important part of making you feel relaxed and connected to community," said Badzak.

In Carp, the Diefenbunker has re-opened its blast doors, but with a few changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission: sanitizing stations and physical distancing markers have been placed around the bunker, and staff are limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

"There's a couple of exhibitions that we did have to close, due to high-touch areas or spaces we couldn't ensure physical distancing," said Christine McGuire, the Diefenbunker's executive director. "But really, the majority of the museum is open to the public, as it was before."

The Ottawa Art Gallery requires visitors to book their visit in advance, online. Visits are limited to a three-hour block of time, but people can roam freely in the gallery without having to follow a set path.

Purchasing tickets to Diefenbunker online is optional, but the museum is restricting payment to online and cards only.

Additional precautions required are on the Diefenbunker's and Ottawa Art Gallery's websites.

Many other galleries and museums in the capital remain closed while they adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.




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Jason White

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