Updated 22/07/21

Reopening your museum will rely first and foremost on your most important assets – the people who keep your organisation running.

For your Front of House team, there may be concerns about the face-to-face nature of their roles, physical contact and the anxieties they have around the virus. Mental health and wellbeing may become more of a priority for your organisation when considering visitor interactions, and social distancing in offices or stores. You may be requiring heightened vigilance from your staff, as well as dealing with the worries of your visitors.

Staff are likely to need a degree of ‘retraining’, especially if they have been off for longer than 12 weeks. You may need to arrange a day or two for people to come in and remind themselves of procedures (such as how the till works, what the fire evacuation procedure is, IT logins, etc). This may need to be spread out over several days if social distancing is still in place. You may also want to limit exposure to different groups of staff/volunteers and institute a buddy system so that people are only exposed to the same individuals.

When entering Step 4, the rules around social distancing and face masks will change. Whilst these may no longer be legally required, much of the guidance is still encouraged. Your staff, volunteers and visitors will also have their own worries and preferences around these issues. For more information on Step 4 and what it means for your museum, please see the section on Step 4 and What It Means For Your Museum.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Have you done a comprehensive risk assessment for returning staff to ensure they will be safe?
  • How many staff are you realistically going to be working with (some staff might not return immediately, be part of the shielding group or have underlying health conditions or caring responsibilities)?
  • What is the museum’s policy on staff not wanting to return to work when requested (for whatever reason)?
  • How will you communicate with your staff to understand their concerns around contact and potential exposure? How will you find out what would make them feel safer at work?
  • How will you address additional mental health or wellbeing anxieties?
  • Will you require personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff or visitors? For more information on PPE, have a look at our Hygiene fact sheet.
  • How can you adapt your Front of House and back office facilities to help make them Covid-secure?
  • Can some staff continue to work from home?
  • Will you need more hand washing facilities?
  • Will you need to investigate costings and practicalities for Covid-secure measures? These might include screens at pay points, signage and zone markings on the floor – depending on what your workforce and visitors are comfortable with.
  • Will your staff need to use public transport to access your site? Can the risks of this be mitigated?
  • Have you investigated costings and practicalities for more regular and more thorough cleaning?
  • Will your staff need training on additional hygiene practices?
  • Have you considered the fact that some team members may have faced difficult times during the pandemic and may need additional support? Support for bereavement and mental health issues can be found here:
  • Have you considered how staff who have worked through the pandemic may interact with those who have been furloughed? Will you need to set aside time for additional training and upskilling, or support for those who may have volunteered or worked during and are now facing burnout?

“The museum we closed will not be the museum we reopen.”



Government guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.

Health and Safety advice

Government guidance for businesses

Gov’t guidance for social distancing in a range of workplace scenarios

Risk Assessment template
Appendix 4

General information on reopening museums in America

Workers’ Rights

Advice on face coverings

Face coverings and new rules

Reopening – Public and Facility Manager Anxieties
Appendix 17: Events Industry Forum – working safely in the outdoor events industry

Managing People Through Uncertain Times

September 2020 Changes from Government

Guidance for office working

What to do if you have a case of Covid in your organisation – Covid-19 Action List

Appendix 27_Covid 19 Action List

‘We offer testing to our staff’ scheme

10 Employee Rights You Should Know

Health and Wellbeing in Museums Toolkit

Covid-19 testing guidance for employers

Government Guidance Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread

Working safely during Covid-19

Guidance on working safely during Covid-19 for events and attractions

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