Vatican museums will reopen on June 1, the Vatican said on Saturday, ending a closure caused by the coronavirus blockade that drained the Holy See’s coffers.
A statement said that museums, which are home to some of the world’s greatest Renaissance masterpieces, as well as ancient Roman and Egyptian artifacts, can be visited from early June, though only making online reservations to control the number of people.
Visitors will have their temperatures checked and will have to wear masks and use hand sanitizer. Employees will wear masks and gloves and health professionals will be on hand.
Similar conditions will apply to visitors to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
Italian museums began to reopen on May 18, as part of a gradual reduction in blockade measures in the country, where more than 30,000 people died from the virus.
The pandemic has dramatically slowed the flow of funds to the Vatican coffers. Museums received about 7 million visitors last year and are the Holy See’s most trusted source of income, previously generating $ 100 million annually.
Even after the reopening, authorities fear that improved security measures, social detachment requirements, new health regulations and an expected shortage of international tourists will undermine ticket and souvenir sales.
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