Despite early media reports claiming museums would be included in Step 2 reopening, beginning no earlier than the 12th April, it will be at least the 17th May before a cultural attraction in England will be open to visitors.

The feeling that other industries are given preferential treatment is an all too familiar one for museums professionals, with lockdown easing last summer having similarly left culture sector venues to wait while other businesses that appeared no safer could reopen.

‘Here we go again’

As ever, much of the sector’s disappointment was laid bare on Twitter. ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions), which has campaigned relentlessly for museums to receive a fair chance of reopening as soon as is safely possible, led the way in lambasting the decision.

There is, it states, “no public health or epidemiological justification” for visitor attractions to trail behind the likes of non-essential retail, especially when there has been “no proven evidence of [museums] being sites of Covid transmission”.

ALVA has also called for an additional bank holiday to help the sector recoup a small percentage of the income lost by being closed through lucrative spells such as the Easter break.

Many prominent figures from across the museums sector also spoke of their disdain for the treatment of the industry, particularly as it has heralded the return of a familiar sinking feeling.

Maintaining some form of humour and positivity is, however, also a staple of museums Twitter. In the aftermath of yesterday’s saddening announcement this was no different.

Many a true word said in jest? Perhaps beer garden outreach will be to 2021 what digital was in 2020.

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