BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts museums are announcing reopening plans now that they are allowed to start welcoming visitors again under the third phase of the state’s coronavirus economic recovery plan.
The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem announced in a statement Friday that it will open its doors July 16 and 17 to members, patrons and health care workers from North Shore Medical Center, then open to the public on July 18.
The museum will limit capacity with timed tickets, and is also enhancing cleaning and sanitizing measures.
The Springfield Museums, a complex of five museums including one dedicated to children’s author and city native Dr. Seuss, will welcome back members on July 9 and 10, and non-members starting July 13, according to its website.
Tickets for a specific visit time will be offered in advance on a first-come, first-served basis to prevent overcrowding.
Three major museums in the Berkshires — the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Clark Art Institute — are all scheduled to reopen some time during the weekend of July 11 and 12.
Massachusetts health officials reported 290 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 17 more deaths.
There have now been nearly 110,000 confirmed and probable cases in the state and nearly 8,150 deaths, according to the state Department of Public Health.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
The number of people hospitalized with the disease was 656, down from 681 the previous day. The number of people in intensive care also dropped to 106, down from 113.
New Bedford will continue distributing free masks to city residents throughout July and August, city officials announced Friday.
The initiative — a partnership between the city, the Southeastern Massachusetts chapter of the American Red Cross, and Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp. that has already distributed more than 52,000 masks — has scheduled several drive-through distribution events at middle school parking lots on July 18, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8.
Several walk-up distribution events in different neighborhoods are also planned.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the wearing of cloth face coverings in public where social distancing is difficult to maintain to slow the spread of the coronavirus.