After record numbers of new positive COVID-19 cases last week and predictions of larger daily case numbers coming, two downtown museums announced they will hit pause on plans to reopen.
Gov. Greg Abbott allowed museums to reopen fairly early in his plan to reopen businesses, but most downtown museums have opted to wait.
Both the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum had recently announced intentions to open with specific safety plans in place in early July. However, both also announced today, along with the other downtown Dallas museums, that they would be waiting to reopen until it was safer to do so.
“Given the spike in COVID-19 cases in Dallas County and the rollback of the State’s phased reopening, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum have decided to pause plans to reopen in early July,” the museums said in a joint statement. “Though we have created rigorous guidelines and best practices to ensure that we reopen the museums safely and protect our staff and visitors, we are part of a larger community.
“We believe it is important to support Gov. Abbott’s, Mayor Johnson’s, and Judge Jenkins’ appeals for Texans to stay home, if at all possible, to be good community partners and neighbors,” the statement continued. “While museums are still allowed to be open at 50% capacity, we believe a temporary delay in reopening is the most appropriate demonstration of our shared responsibility.”
The Perot Museum and the DHHRM said they are working with the other museums in downtown Dallas, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Crow Museum of Asian Art, and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, to determine when it would be best to reopen.
Museums weren’t the only entities to announce changes in the wake of the recent surge in cases. The Dallas Zoo announced it would require masks in all areas of the zoo last week.
“In response to Dallas County orders, we are now requiring guests 10 years and older to wear a face-covering while at the Dallas Zoo,” the zoo said in a statement. “We strongly encourage children over the age of 2 and up to age 10 to wear face coverings during their visit to the Zoo as well, especially while indoors, including in restrooms.”
Previously, the Zoo’s policy required masks in indoor areas only, but patrons were encouraged to wear masks throughout the zoo. Now, face coverings can be removed while eating and drinking, and if you’re outdoors and need a brief break, or if there are health reasons that prevent the patron from wearing one.
“We take these health and safety measures very seriously, and this new policy will be enforced,” the statement continued. “If you choose not to comply, you may be asked to leave the zoo. “
The Dallas Park and Recreation department was also forced to reconsider the start date for summer camps. In a letter to the Park and Recreation board, director John Jenkins said that the city would push back the date for some camps.
“Based on careful review and consideration of recent, record-setting new COVID-19 cases in Dallas, the opening plan for our Recreations Centers is being amended,” Jenkins wrote. “Although there are guidelines and procedures established, the new case numbers are of grave concern and therefore the anticipated schedule to open camps on July 6th will be delayed until July 20, 2020.”