Museum Shops

Updated 04/09/2020

On 12 June, the Government updated the Health Protection regulations on preventing the spread of Covid-19 to further ease some of the lockdown restrictions.

The changes mean that some museums may be able to reopen their cafes and shops from 15 June 2020 on the same terms as other non-essential retail businesses and cafes.

This means that museums can open their café or shop provided it is self-contained (i.e. separate from the museum building which remains off limits to the public) and customers can enter from a place outside the closed museum.

If these conditions apply to a museum and they wish to reopen their shop or café, they will need to follow the Guidance for Shops and Branches and/or the Guidance for Food Businesses.

Please note that there are new rules regarding face coverings. Please see the resources section.

“Of course we’re safe. There’s a little shop.”

Doctor Who, Amy’s Choice, 2010

A Note on Safety

  • Please stay safe when sanitising your workspace. Following a recent (fortunately non-fatal) electric shock incident in a council setting, please remember that when sanitising your workspace, you should never clean any light switches or electrical outlets/sockets unless you have been given specific responsibility for doing so. If you do have this responsibility, you must clean them using the proper procedure outlined below in order to stay safe.
  • During the pandemic, sanitation has increased in all environments, with particular reference to touchpoints – such as door handles, door plates, tables, chair arms, kitchen white-good handles, light switches, dispensers, flat surfaces such as bookshelves and internal ledges as well as various other areas.
  • If you are responsible for cleaning, or look after staff and volunteers who do, you need to ensure that anyone working in the museum is instructed on the correct method for cleaning light switches/electrical outlets to avoid accidents.
  • Light switches and electrical switch plates must only be cleaned using a slightly damp cloth (e.g. squirt the spray bottle onto the cloth and not directly onto the electrical switch plate or outlet) or with a sanitising wipe. This will help reduce the risk of electrocution.
  • It would also be prudent to have another team member/volunteer on site if cleaning in high risk areas, to provide first aid or call for an ambulance if an incident occurs.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your shop self-contained? Can you offer an alternative entrance to your shop that does not take visitors through exhibition spaces?
  • Is your space bid enough to accommodate social distancing?
  • Will you need to remove shelving to make room?
  • Will you be able to provide signage/screens and protective equipment around your till area?
  • Will you be able to offer contactless payment options?
  • If you must handle cash, what can you do to mitigate the risks associated with transfer contamination?
  • Can you limit the number of lines you sell, and only display a certain number of the same item to reduce handling?
  • Do you have enough staff or volunteers to man the shop safely and also handle the administration and banking tasks?
  • Do you need to offer retraining opportunities for staff and volunteers so that they are confident with new hygiene procedures and also with the till etc?
  • What queries do you anticipate the public will ask if they visit your shop? Is it worth thinking about these in advance so that your staff and volunteers are prepared?
  • Have you got clear and consistent signage to help visitors know that they will need to wear a face covering?
  • Have you considered selling face coverings in your shop, for visitors who may have forgotten theirs? You could create interesting and cheerful designs that match with your museum’s collection.


Health Protection regulations (amendment 4)

Guidance for shops from the government

Guidance for food businesses

Guidance from the Association of Convenience Retailers

Face coverings and new rules

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