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New guidance offers some hope for San Diego museums

Posted at 7:12 PM, Aug 29, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego's museums received a glimmer of hope following the reveal of California's new guidance.

That's because San Diego County was placed in the second tier, "substantial." Now, several businesses will have to opportunity to reopen, as they did in June, with modifications indoors.

The San Diego Air and Space Museum announced it plans to reopen on Monday. When the museum reopened in June, staff implemented safety policies including capacity limits, social distancing, facemasks for guests and employees, hand sanitizer stations, and continuous cleaning. Museum staff also were required to have their temperatures screened daily before entering.

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This time around, museums will have to limit indoor activities to 25% capacity in addition to modifications, according to the state's guidance for tier two.

The museum is one of a handful of Balboa Park attractions that have been able to welcome guests back. The San Diego Zoo, Japanese Friendship Garden, and Spanish Village Art Center have already been open. Some nearby restaurants have also been open for outdoor service.

But several other museums, including the Fleet Science Center, Museum of Us (formerly the Museum of Man), and San Diego Museum of Art have yet to say whether they will reopen under the new guidance.

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"We want to make sure people come back to the park, it is the cultural heart of San Diego," Executive Director of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership Peter Comiskey told ABC 10News back in July, just as museums faced closure again.

The San Diego Natural History Museum said earlier this month that doors would remain closed until 2021. The museum says donations made before Aug. 31 will be matched by local philanthropists. The Nat said during its closure, it will also be seeking new sources of grant and gift funding.

Museums across San Diego have been forced to stay closed for much of the summer, losing out on revenue that depends on guest tickets and merchandise in many instances.

"I think as time goes on we need to look at what fund-raising is possible, I think we need to look with those organizations that rely on revenue through the gate," Comiskey said.

Comiskey added that conversations are planned on how to supplement lost income for many Balboa Park organizations.