Coronavirus Safety Protocols Include Extra Cleanings, Crowd Capped At 25% Capacity

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The five-month wait is over. Art lovers are now allowed back inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The same inspiring place features some new COVID-era enhancements.

Visitors line up as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reopens to the public on August 29, 2020. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

There was a line outside the Met on Saturday for those with tickets, reserved in advance.

Up at the front, CBS2’s Dave Carlin found Stephen Galiczynski.

“Well, I got here about an hour and a half early,” he said.

He walked into the museum with his arms outstretched in triumph, the first visitor on the first day the Met is again open to the public.

“It’s open, we’re back!” Galiczynski said.

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Galiczynski is an artist and brought his sketchbook. Being here rendered him emotional and inspired.

“It is a signal that New York is reopening, and how great is that?” he said.

It was like a ghost town at the museum starting in March.

With the return of visitors, the museum undergoes extra cleanings and the crowd is capped at 25% capacity, which is still thousands of people per day when you consider as many as 40,000 people visited daily pre-pandemic.

Employees check temperatures as visitors arrive for the reopening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on August 29, 2020. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

To get inside, you’re going to need to have a mask and submit to a bag and temperature check.

The extra steps got art student Sue Yuan into her happy place. She says it’s worth it.

“It is necessary, I think,” she said.

Yuan’s first stop was the Egyptian exhibit.

That’s where CBS2 found 11-year-old twins Max and Jacob Levin with their mom, Lana.

“We find that art is an important part of our lives,” Lana Levin said.

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“I missed this place,” Max said.

“I’m really happy to be here, honestly,” Jacob said. “It just creates emotion and fantasy … It helps you from escape reality, I mean, it does so many things.”

“Art that goes back 5,000 years that tell us about the history of humankind and about how to overcome,” Met director Max Hollein said.

The museum is open Thursday through Monday with scaled back hours, and again, reserve your time before you go.

For more information, go to metmuseum.org/visit/plan-your-visit.

Next up for museum lovers, the American Museum of Natural History opens to the public Sept. 9 following a members-only preview the week before.

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