While the arrival of April will see shops, restaurants, cafes and gyms opening their doors, art enthusiasts will have to wait longer to enjoy museums and galleries.
Under the government’s current “four-step” roadmap out of lockdown – which is subject to change dependent on the success of the ongoing vaccine rollout and a reduction in number of deaths – the UK will enter step three on 17 May.
Under this stage “indoor entertainment” will be allowed to re-open, including cinemas, theatres and art establishments.
Museums will be allowed to accept visitors from that date. While art galleries were not specifically named in the “roadmap” announcement, it is presumed that they will also be able to open their doors once again on 17 May.
Commercial galleries, however, are permitted to re-open five weeks earlier, from 12 April onwards.
Museum and gallery owners across England have expressed disappointment and anger at the news.
Rebecca Salter, the president of the Royal Academy of Arts told The Guardian: “It just makes no sense. On the 12 April all the retail will open on Piccadilly and our gates will stay shut, I don’t get the logic of it frankly. It just doesn’t feel joined up to me… I’m angry.”
Museums were closed for several months during the spring of 2020 until a brief period of time in summer when they were able to reopen before institutions were closed once again at the end of December.
The Barbican’s Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty exhibit will open on 17 May, while two exhibits at the Hayward Gallery (Matthew Barney: Redoubt and Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust) are scheduled to open on 19 May.
The V&A’s Alice (which explores the origins and reinventions of Lewis Carroll’s famous manuscript), Tate Modern’s Rodin and Whitechapel Gallery’s Eileen Agar are expected to open from the earliest possible date, meaning 17 May.
Mask wearing, limited advanced booking and social distancing measures are set to remain in place until at least 21 June.