Cultural institutions are set to reopen from Monday 10th May under the Government’s latest Covid plan, ‘Recovery and Resilience: The Path Ahead.’
Taoiseach Michéal Martin announced the Government decision to commence reopening last week following advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). It will see a cautious and gradual phased reopening over May and June.
Under the newly published plan, many Fórsa members in museums, galleries and cultural spaces will recommence working from their workplace for the first time since December 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, Fórsa and other unions have insisted that the safety of workers and the people they serve must be protected as staff migrate back to workplaces after working remotely, which resulted in an agreed ‘return to work safety protocol’.
Fórsa official Ian McDonnell, who has responsibility for the union’s cultural institution branches, said additional measures would also be implemented to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
“In addition to social distancing and the wearing of facemasks, visitors attending our cultural spaces will be asked to pre-book an appointment and complete a Covid compliant questionnaire in advance of their visit. It may also be necessary to limit numbers and restrict access to certain exhibitions,” he said.
Ian said that the safety protocols are mainly in line with what was in place last year.
The reopening of cultural attractions has been warmly welcomed, hailed as the beginning of a return to normal.
In a statement last week the European Public Services Union (EPSU) said that art and culture workers are essential to a fairer society and will play an essential role in healing and responding to the trauma, mental health and isolation impacts of the pandemic.
“Arts and culture are not a commodity, they keep us standing, connected to the world, feed our imagination, carry hope for emancipation, give sense to solidarity and the exercise of our freedom and our humanity,” it said.
More information on ‘Recovery and Resilience: The Path Ahead’ can be found HERE.
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