COVID-19 | Places Reopening

COVID-19 | Places Reopening

COVID-19 | Places ReopeningArt lovers will have to check with each gallery they want to visit before heading off as some are not opening just yet..

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - September 2020
Heide Museum of Modern Art - June 2020
NGV - National Gallery of Victoria - June 27, 2020
Bendigo Art Gallery - June 2020
This Is No Fantasy - May 2020
Station Gallery - May 2020
MARS in Windsor - May 2020
The Ian Potter Centre | NGV Australia - June 27, 2020
Tolarno Gallery - TBA

Art galleries a picture of caution as lockdown restrictions ease
If you've been pining for an inperson art fix don't circle June 1 on your calendar just yet.

None of the major Victorian art galleries contacted by The Age could confirm they would be open next Monday and one, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, said it was aiming for a September reopening.

A handful of commercial galleries have opened, but the bigger institutions are still consulting authorities on how they can admit visitors while protecting their - and their employees' - health.

"There are lots of details to be worked through," said a spokeswoman for the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen, adding the gallery was "aiming to open as soon as possible" . June 1 was "still in the realm of possibility" .

An NGV spokeswoman would only say its date of reopening would be announced "in due course" - in the meantime it is "working closely with Creative Victoria to ensure appropriate public health and physical distancing measures are put in place to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors upon reopening" .

It is more than simply opening the doors: galleries have to work out how they will manage queues, how to move visitors through the building so distancing rules are not breached, and how they can ensure staff are protected.

On the weekend, Premier Daniel Andrews said from one minute before midnight on May 31, public galleries will be allowed to reopen. They would have to apply physical distancing of one person per four square metres, have a limit of 20 patrons per "space" , and record visitors' contact details. From June 22, the limit lifts to 50 people - however distancing would remain.

Jessica Bridgfoot, director of the Bendigo Art Gallery, said it was working towards reopening on the June 6 long weekend - anticipating that as hotels and motels reopen, regional tourism will start to pick up. Its two exhibitions on show have barely been seen - one opened just a day before lockdown, and the other has only been viewed online.

"Bendigo is a weekend destination , and we are, as always, keen to support the region's tourism economy ," Ms Bridgfoot said. The gallery is deploying extra cleaning, social distancing signage and markers, and will monitor visitor numbers.

"Technically, a gallery is an extremely safe place to be, because there's actually no reason to touch anything," Ms Bridgfoot said. "You're not static, you're on the move, and you can walk the whole length of the building and experience all our exhibitions without touching anything with your hands - it's really just your feet on the ground."

ACCA, however, currently sits empty and its next exhibition, a sound-and-performance installation by Frances Barrett called Meatus, is not due to open until September.

Artistic director Max Delany said the gallery had, once lockdown hit, planned a six-month closure so it didn't commit to exhibitions that would then be cancelled. Instead the gallery focused on digital projects.

"We will of course review what we have planned in the gallery space, but feel confident that reopening in September is still the best way forward ," Delany said.

Several commercial galleries in Melbourne have reopened, with reduced hours and limited visitor numbers, including This Is No Fantasy in Fitzroy, Station Gallery in South Yarra and MARS in Windsor.

However, Tolarno Gallery in Exhibition Street, which is on the fourth floor , is affected by government guidelines allowing only two people in a lift - and is not yet open.

Director Jan Minchin said: "We're still thinking about how to manage the practical side of things, we don't want visitors queueing and having to wait in the cold."

Art galleries a picture of caution as lockdown restrictions ease
This article is from the May 26, 2020 issue of The Age Digital Edition.
Nick Miller Kerrie O'Brien
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Image: Jessica Bridgfoot, director of the Bendigo Art Gallery CREDIT:AMELIA STANWIX


Bookings have flooded in for accommodation providers and popular holiday attractions as difficult lockdown restrictions were yesterday eased for businesses across the state.

In a positive sign of things to come, snow fell on some of Victoria's ski resorts on the first day of winter and businesses reported interest in regional holidays.

It came as zoos and aquariums reopened and it was revealed Melbourne's cultural institutions will reopen on June 27.

Big4 Holiday Parks chief executive Steven Wright said lifting limits on overnight stays had boosted hopes of a local tourism boom.

"Our sales for the week are up 75 per cent on last year and have been up since the announcement," he said.

"To put it in context, we were down by a lot in April and May but this is a significant improvement and things are certainly a lot rosier than a few weeks ago."

Mr Wright said places such as the Great Ocean Road, Bright and Inverloch were popular as Melburnians looked for getaways.

"Bookings are going into the July and September school holidays," he said.

"Every reservation is great news for the employees, families and businesses of our regional towns."

Australian Ski Areas Association chief Colin Hackworth said the state's billion-dollar ski season would start on June 22, 2020.

Weather permitting, Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek will open that week.

"There is a lot of interest out there as resorts work to get up to full operational speed," Mr Hackworth said.

"What people are going to need to do this year is plan and book as much of the holiday as possible ... There will be capacity restraints."

In Melbourne, a blast of wintry weather wasn't enough to keep visitors from flocking to the reopened Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Aquarium.

The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, IMAX and Scienceworks will all reopen in time for the winter school holidays on June 27.

State Library of Victoria will partially re-open the Library on 15 June, ahead of our official opening on 27 June 2020.

This article is from the June 2, 2020 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition
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