English museums prepare to close as country goes into second lockdown

New regulations to last 'until early December'
Covid-19
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Rebecca Atkinson
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VE day homemade "Stay Home" bunting which was donated to Museums Sheffield
VE day homemade "Stay Home" bunting which was donated to Museums Sheffield Bea Knowles

New national restrictions come into force in England tomorrow (Thursday 5 November) that will force museums and galleries to close to the public.

Indoor attractions at sculpture parks, heritage sites, botanical gardens and landmarks also need to close, although outdoor spaces – such as the gardens at Horniman Museums & Gardens in London – can remain open.

Museum restaurants and cafes can continue to open for takeaway as long as they are in a self-contained unit and customers do not have to enter via the museum. Non-essential shops, including museum shops, must close.

During England’s lockdown, people are required to stay at home as much as possible, including working from home if they are able to. Schools, nurseries and university’s remain open.

The prime minister Boris Johnson said the new lockdown regulations would last “until the start of December”. The Job Retention Scheme – which pays 80% of furloughed staff’s wages has been extended for the period of the national restrictions.

This means the previously announced Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after the Job Retention Scheme ends.

Self-employed individuals will receive 80% of their average trading profits for November, to make a total of 55% for the three months covered.

Many museums have advised visitors who have pre-bought tickets how these will be transferred.

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Weston Park Museum, Millennium Gallery and Graves Gallery will be closed from Thursday 5 November in line with the latest government guidance.

Kim Streets, the chief executive of Museums Sheffield, said: “The wellbeing of our visitors and staff is our number one priority and we continue to follow government advice on the current situation. We’ll look forward to welcoming visitors again as soon as we’re able.

"In the meantime, we’ll be continuing to share regular updates, highlights from the city’s collections and more through our social media channels and our Museums Sheffield from Home pages.”

Museums in Wales closed on 23 October when the country entered a two-week “fire-break” lockdown. Museums in Northern Ireland closed on 16 October for four weeks.

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