The National Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has granted KwaZulu-Natal Province permission to reopen libraries, museums and archives. In this regard, the Department of Arts and Culture is carefully preparing a phased reopening of service points for the Library, Museums and Archives on the 1st of October, 2020. " We welcome the Minister's approval of our request as the Province of KwaZulu Natal, our focus is on employee health and safety and that of patrons who visit our facilities, which is why we worked closely with the municipalities to carry out various risk assessments prior to making our application to reopen libraires and museums" said MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela.
The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture announced regulations that allow for the opening of libraries, archives, museums, galleries under advanced level 3 provided that they adhere to the stipulated guidelines and in compliance with Health and Safety protocols. In the letter dated 7 July 2020, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture stated that all arts and culture institutions would require approval from the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture by submitting their reopening plans following the outlined processes protocols.
In the past few weeks, an extensive risk assessment was conducted across 300 facilities, and the Department is satisfied that the Province is ready to receive patrons. In a joint effort the Department drafted detailed standard operating procedures and all municipalities are urged to follow strict guidelines as they reopen libraries and museums service points.
The Department will also assist with PPE supplies to safe guard workers and customers' health and safety, where libraries indicate shortages of such materials.
The reopening of the libraries and museums will be implemented under the following strict guidelines:
A modular library or a small library will admit a maximum of 10 people;
Medium-sized library will accept 25 people at a time, and
A mega library will only admit up to 50 people.
Museum visitors will be allowed to take their tours. There will be no guided tours, but visitors will be screened by the museum staff to ensure they do not contaminate the surfaces and collections.
In the case of libraries, the following services will be permissible:
limited use of study area where patrons are using their study materials
return of materials that were borrowed before the lockdown
Any fines incurred during the lockdown period will be written off.
The department will monitor compliance with the Standard Operating Procedures. Reopening of the rest of the services will be considered after reviewing the risks after re-opening.