World War II Museum to reopen on Memorial Day with masks required, attendance at 25%

By ANNETTE SISCO | The Times-Picayune | Published: May 19, 2020

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NEW ORLEANS (Tribune News Service) — Like recruits reporting to duty, visitors to the National World War II Museum will be issued protective gear, if they need it, as the museum eases open its doors on Memorial Day.

Typically a busy day filled with speeches and patriotic concerts, this year the holiday in honor of fallen soldiers will host no special events, museum officials confirmed. Attendance will be capped at 25% of capacity, as laid out in Phase 1 of the state and city's reopening plan. The museum has been closed for two months.

Masks will be required for staff and visitors. The museum will give masks to those who need them. First responders and medical professionals will be admitted free, along with active duty military.

World War II veterans who have been the stars of past Memorial Day activities are in their 90s now. They are encouraged to stay at home this year.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact in our communities, and while we are grateful to reopen, our priority continues to be the health and safety of our visitors, local residents and entire museum family,” Stephen J. Watson, museum president and CEO, said in a statement Monday.

Tickets will be timed to limit crowding and encourage social distancing. Sanitizing and cleaning procedures have been revamped. Plexiglas sneeze guards, sanitizing stations and one-way directional signage have been installed, Watson said.

The museum is advising advance purchase of tickets at nationalww2museum.org.

Visitors will follow directional signs through the galleries to help keep their distance. Museum workers will give visitors a disposable stylus for use on the museum's many computer touch screens. Other interactive exhibits will be deactivated.

The museum closed March 13 as the coronavirus pandemic closed in on New Orleans. The American Alliance of Museums and local health experts were consulted in developing the protocols, designed to prevent the spread of the lethal contagion, Watson said.

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