LOS ANGELES — Having been closed for a year, museums were finally granted the right to reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity on Monday when the state moved Los Angeles County into its less restrictive red tier of Covid-19 regulations.
“It’s thrilling that we’ve finally been given permission to reopen,” said Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which plans to reopen April 1. “Millions of visitors in other cities have already safely visited art museums and been able to take advantage of the beauty, the solace, and the engagement with the issues of our time that museums can provide. Finally, those in Los Angeles can too.”
The change reflects an improving pandemic picture in Los Angeles, where coronavirus cases are declining as the number of vaccinations is increasing. Visitors will finally be able to see shows like “Made in L.A. 2020” at the Hammer and the Huntington, an important showcase for rising local artists.
The protracted shutdown cost the county’s museums, zoos and aquariums more than $5 billion in 2020, according to the California Association of Museums. Galleries have been allowed to operate because they are classified as commerce.
Some museum leaders said it would take a little time to be up and running with appropriate safety protocols in place. Govan said LACMA “can’t wait to welcome visitors in person.”
Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer, said, “It will take us a few weeks to ramp up; we are looking at mid-April.”
“I’m so excited to see people in the galleries and for ‘Made in L.A.’ to finally have its audience,” she added.