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.
Please note there are new rules around face covering:
o Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings (from 23 September).
o Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September).
o People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.
o Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law. (from 24 September)
o Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.
COVID-19 critical worker status
A security operative is considered a ‘critical worker’ if they are deployed in roles essential to supporting law and order, or which have the potential to limit any further likely pressures on the Police or national emergency services – this could include the guarding of empty or closed commercial property judged at risk, closed retail sites or sensitive office premises, or the monitoring of similar through CCTV or other remote means, and the provision of alarm response centres including mobile units.
The Government has created a letter (https://heartoflondonbid.london/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Employee-requirement-to-travel-to-work_print-with-company-letterhead_final.pdf) for employers to help with employees who need to come to work. Employers are advised to download the letter and customise with their letterhead and details and print off for their staff to show to the police if necessary.
Museums and charities can also apply for ‘rapid lateral flow’ test kits, which will help you to undertake testing for staff and volunteers who cannot work from home. You can register directly on https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests to order free coronavirus rapid lateral flow tests to carry out regular asymptomatic testing of staff and volunteers who cannot work from home.
Questions to ask yourself
- 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 encourage social distancing?
- Can some staff continue to work from home?
- Will you need more hand washing facilities?
- Will you need to investigate costings and practicalities for social distancing measures? These might include screens at pay points, signage and zone markings on the floor.
- Will your staff need to use public transport to access your site? Can the risks of this be mitigated?
- Have you considered the legal implications of reopening? Will you be able to guarantee that you have made reasonable and effective health and safety changes to protect your staff?
- Have you investigated costings and practicalities for more regular and more thorough cleaning?
- Will your staff need training on additional hygiene practices?
- Have you done a comprehensive risk assessment for returning staff to ensure they will be safe?
“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
Gov’t guidance for social distancing in a range of workplace scenarios
Risk Assessment template
General information on reopening museums in America
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