Ottawa Art Gallery, Diefenbunker Museum reopen to visitors

The Ottawa Art Gallery and the Diefenbunker Museum reopened to visitors Wednesday for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown began.

Both venues asking visitors to register or buy tickets before they arrive

The main tunnel to the Diefenbunker Museum in Carp. The museum reopened to the public on Wednesday after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The Ottawa Art Gallery and the Diefenbunker Museum reopened to visitors Wednesday for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown began.

"[We're] very, very happy that after 117 days we're welcoming everyone back," Alexandra Badzak, director and CEO for the Ottawa Art Gallery, told CBC's Ottawa Morning on Wednesday.

The downtown gallery is reopening to front-line workers on Wednesday and to the general public on Thursday.

Gallery hours have changed in order to give staff time to clean and disinfect the building, Badzak said. The OAG is now open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Older adults and people who are immunocompromised will have priority access to the gallery for the first hour each day, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

"We've put in a whole bunch of measures that are going to keep our public really safe," Badzak said.

The gallery has installed "fun and creative" signals throughout to remind visitors to stay two metres apart, but otherwise they'll have freedom to roam.

"We didn't want to do a whole bunch of arrows everywhere," Badzak said. "We wanted people to be able to explore."

They've dusted off the A.Y. Jacksons. And disinfected every hand rail and elevator button. Now the Ottawa Art Gallery is reopening its doors to visitors -- after more than 100 days closed for the pandemic. 6:10

Both the OAG and the Diefenbunker Museum in Carp are asking visitors to register or buy tickets before they arrive.

At the OAG, people can book a time slot online or by phone. At the Diefenbunker, visitors are asked to purchase tickets online before they arrive, but they won't be required to use them at any particular time.

If the Diefenbunker gets too busy, the museum's website says visitors may have to wait outside.

Visitors to both venues are required to wear cloth masks, which are now mandatory in all public, indoor settings throughout Ottawa and the surrounding area.

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