The Higgins Bedford will be welcoming visitors back through its doors from Tuesday 25 August, after being closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The popular museum and gallery on Castle Lane is among Council facilities that are undertaking a phased reopening, with free, timed entry slots and a one-way system to help visitors social distance.
As lockdown measures eased and local facilities began to reopen, Bedford Borough Council has been closely monitoring the impact of these changes on the local rate of infections and is confident that it is safe to begin a cautious and phased reopening of leisure and culture services, with stringent infection prevention measures in place.
Visitors will once again be able to enjoy the museum’s excellent – and in some cases weird and wonderful – displays telling the story of the local area, and the popular Dreams and Nightmares exhibition – featuring artworks selected from the Cecil Higgins Collection – has been extended until 20 September.
As well as being able to visit the galleries, the museum shop will also be open and The Higgins Pantry café has already reopened its doors.
Things won’t quite be back to normal, as new measures will be in place for the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff.
To ensure that people can socially distance, visitors will need to book a free timed entry ticket online before their visit by visiting www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk or by calling 01234 718044.
Everyone visiting The Higgins Bedford must wear a face covering, except for children under 11 or for the legitimate reasons set out in Government guidance.
A safe and enjoyable visit
The Higgins Bedford has introduced a number of measures in line with Government and public heath guidance, to ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience.
- There will be a one way system in operation with separate entrance and exit routes, and hand washing and sanitising facilities will be available throughout the building.
- Customer toilet facilities will be open with clear queuing systems in place, and cleaning has been increased.
- Interactive displays will be removed as well as shared information folders about the displays, but visitors will be able to access these on mobile devices by scanning new QR codes.
- Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help visitors have a safe and enjoyable time, while measures such as screens will be in place to help ensure everyone’s safety.
- In addition, The Higgins Bedford will be collecting contact details for visitors to support NHS Test and Trace in the prevention of further local COVID-19 outbreaks.
Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said, “I am really pleased that we are able to reopen The Higgins Bedford, in a safe and COVID-19 secure way for visitors and staff.
“You must book a free timed entry ticket before your visit, to ensure you don’t miss out.
“As we start to reopen these services, we are urging people to continue to behave responsibly and help us to avoid a local lockdown.
“Stay two metres away from others, wear a face covering if you can, wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, and if you are displaying any symptoms, stay at home and book a test.”