TAMPA, Fla. — The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa will be one of the first major science centers in the country to reopen after closing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
MOSI will reopen to the public on Wednesday, May 27. It follows The Florida Aquarium and Dinosaur World, which both opened earlier this month.
Since MOSI exhibits are hands-on and interactive, the museum had to decide how to manage their exhibits.
"We haven't changed a lot of the exhibits, but some that may be more intense or have goggles like our virtual reality simulator ride, we aren't going to open just yet. That to me is just being responsible and safe," said Rob Lamke, the Chief Operating Officer at MOSI. "As for hands-on exhibits, we're including hand wipes and sanitizing wipes. It's a personal responsibility of the guest and also a personal choice."
During MOSI's closure, a commercial cleaning company came in to conduct electrostatic cleaning. That included a disinfecting mist that covered all exhibits and carpets. Floors were stripped and re-waxed and carpets were shampooed.
The museum is opening with the following safety measures in place:
- Social distancing is encouraged with signage out front, where portraits of famous scientists are placed six feet apart
- All guest-facing MOSI staff will be required to wear masks
- All staff members will have their temperatures taken
- Indoor capacity is reduced to 50 percent
- Front desk staff will conduct no hand-to-hand transactions, payment and receipt centers are now placed outside sneeze guards
- Hard-to-clean, high-touch exhibits will remain closed
- Hands-on exhibits all have sanitizing wipes to use before and after
- Hand sanitizer stations have been placed around the museum
- Purple discs have been placed on the floor six feet apart to encourage social distancing
- Commercial cleaning staff will be out on the floor to conduct four scheduled cleanings a day
MOSI is also preparing to implement similar safety guidelines to its summer camp programs, which start on June 1.
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