Parks and museums in Beijing—including the former home for China’s emperors, the Forbidden City—began reopening today after being shut down for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The historic complex will reopen under drastically different guidelines, allowing 5,000 daily visitors as opposed to its usual 80,000. Beijing’s parks are also adapting to new precautionary measures, allowing visitors at 30 percent of their normal volume.
According to an AP
report, Gao Dawei, deputy director of the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau, maintains that all large group activities are still suspended and visitors must book tickets ahead of time online. Just yesterday, Beijing lowered its emergency response level for the virus from first to second tier. Meanwhile, social distancing and regular temperature checks remain enforced throughout the city.
The reopening of Beijing’s parks and museums comes on the first day of China’s five-day celebration for Labor Day and ahead of China’s assembly of the National People’s Congress, which was rescheduled for May 22nd. Today, China reported 12 new cases of the coronavirus, with half of them coming from overseas; the country has reported no new deaths in the last 16 days.
As lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted, cultural institutions in parts of the world are gradually reopening their doors. Earlier this week, France announced
plans to reopen galleries and small museums beginning on May 11th. Italy and Belgium will also allow
museums to begin reopening in mid-May. Some German museums began
welcoming visitors again in late April. All of these reopenings come with strict new safety and hygiene measures.