Operationalisation of COVID-19 Guidelines for Museum Stakeholders

Operationalisation of COVID-19 Guidelines for Museum Stakeholders

Updated as of 25 March 2020

  1. In line with MOH’s advisory on Tighter Measures to Minimise Further Spread of COVID 19 issued on 24 March 2020, the National Heritage Board (NHB) would like to inform all museum stakeholders of the following requirements. These measures will take effect from 26 March 2020, 2359 hours, and are expected to be in place until 30 April 2020, but may be extended if the situation does not improve.

  2. Events

    1. All public events and gatherings must be deferred or cancelled, regardless of size. This includes both ticketed and non-ticketed events and gatherings, including concerts, performances, and other productions. This is a tightening of the previous requirement where all events and gatherings were to be limited to fewer than 250 participants. There should be no events at outdoor or public spaces such as concourses. All guided tours will also be suspended.

    2. Private events, including birthday and wedding celebrations, involving more than 10 persons at any one time, should be deferred or cancelled.

    3. Venues

    4. Museum stakeholders who wish to keep their premises open to the public may do so.
      However, they are to ensure the following:

      1. Reduce operating capacity within the venue at any one time, so that the venue does not have more than one person per 16 square metres of usable space. This is to significantly reduce the density of crowds in the venue, especially during peak periods.

      2. Groups should not exceed 10 persons.

      3. Disperse congregations and provide an environment that allows at least 1m physical spacing between patrons. This includes queues and waiting areas. Museums stakeholders are encouraged to offer services by appointment or through digital services (e.g. online and mobile purchase of tickets to events/venues and adopting e-payments) where possible, to minimise queues and the handling of cash and physical tickets. Crowds should be quickly dispersed.

    5. Museum stakeholders’ premises may continue to be used by arts and culture practitioners for honing their craft but these should not involve members of the public. Examples are rehearsals and filming (e.g. for digital broadcast). In addition, precautions should be taken to minimise risk of transmission.

    6. In-house or professional trainings and workshops for arts and culture practitioners and volunteers may also continue within museum stakeholders’ premises. However, organisers and participants must adhere to the prevailing safe distancing measures (i.e. maximum of 10 persons per group, including the trainer(s) and facilitator(s); maintaining a minimum 1-metre separation between participants; health screening, visitor registration to facilitate contact- tracing).

    7. Museum stakeholders who wish to use their premises in line with the uses spelled out in paragraphs c) – e) are to also ensure the following:

      1. Implement visitor registration and contact-tracing measures at the entrances to premises, such as obtaining the contact details of visitors (name and phone number and/or email address). In addition, museum stakeholders can request visitors to download the TraceTogether app ( to complement (but not replace) the contact-tracing measures.

      2. Put in place temperature screening measures as well as keep an eye out for persons who appear unwell. These visitors must then be turned away and encouraged to seek medical attention.

      3. Obtain travel and health declarations of visitors. Visitors who have been overseas in last 14 days must be turned away.

      4. Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of their premises, especially frequently touched surfaces and items, and remove all handling objects where possible. In addition, museum stakeholders should consider removing audio guides and closing off play areas, etc. if these items/areas cannot be sufficiently cleaned and disinfected.

      5. Provide hand sanitisers in easily accessible locations.

      6. Put up notices and posters in prominent places to remind all to practise social responsibility and comply with the safe distancing measures.

    8. Museum stakeholders who are unable to adhere to Paragraphs a)-f) must close their premises.

    9. Existing measures for workplaces continue to apply and employers should put in place measures to reduce close physical interactions amongst employees. Tele-conferencing should also be used in place of physical meetings wherever possible. Where employees can perform their work by telecommuting from home, employers must ensure that they do so.

    10. Museum stakeholders whose premises are located in tenanted spaces (e.g. commercial malls) must comply with the requirements above, as well as any other requirements that the Government may impose through landlords on tenants. Museum stakeholders who are also landlords must ensure their tenants comply with any such requirements.

  3. Action will be taken against any non-compliance with the government’s safe distancing requirements. Museum stakeholders who do not implement or comply with the requirements may be ineligible for government grants and assistance, and may be subject to penalties under the Infectious Disease Act. Additional penalties may be imposed on those which are found to have been a place of transmission of COVID-19, if the venues are found not to have adhered to these requirements.

  4. NHB, National Gallery Singapore, STPI Singapore and Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), will keep their premises open in-line with the requirements at Paragraph 1.

  5. These requirements are subject to further review based on the global situation and developments in Singapore, including changes to MOH’s advisories.

Annex: Photos of implementation of safe distancing measures in museums

Safe distancing for queues with queue markers at the National Museum of Singapore and Indian  Heritage Centre
Safe distancing for queues with queue markers at the National Museum of Singapore and Indian Heritage Centre

Display of safe distancing notices at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Display of safe distancing notices at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Spaced out seating at the resting area of Asian Civilisations Museum
Spaced out seating at the resting area of Asian Civilisations Museum

Spaced out seating within galleries of National Museum of Singapore
Spaced out seating within galleries of National Museum of Singapore

Audio interactives closed temporarily at the Indian Heritage Centre
Audio interactives closed temporarily at the Indian Heritage Centre

Stepped up frequency of cleaning and sanitisation in NHB museums and institutions
Stepped up frequency of cleaning and sanitisation in NHB museums and institutions

Useful Resources

Government Health-Related News Sources

Ministry of Health updates on COVID-19 local situation – daily updates

Advisories from MOH and various sectors

WHO Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (3 Mar 2020)

WHO COVID-19 Situation Reports– daily updates

Museums / Arts & Culture / Leisure & Entertainment,-sportsg-enhances-precautionary-measures

Museum of Science, Boston’s Epidemic Disease and Pandemic Response Policy (updated Mar 2020)

Digital Engagement Resources


Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) readiness and response to the 2019-nCoV – Interim guidance v.2 (WHO, 26 Jan 2020); Final Report (16 Mar 2020)

Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak (WHO, 12 Mar 2020)

Additional Guidelines

Additional Cleaning and Disinfection Procedures

  1. Museum stakeholders should keep areas near objects on display clean with products that are safe to use around these objects. Museum stakeholders may want to refer to their institutional collections management policy and procedures for guidance as to how this may be done safely. Stakeholders may also refer to the Heritage Conservation Centre's basic collections care advice by accessing this link:

  2. Museum stakeholders should replace the AHU (air-handling unit) filters regularly (if one is in place).

  3. Every museum stakeholder is encouraged to participate in the SG Clean programme to have its establishment certified. For more details on the programme, please refer to

    Digital and Virtual Access to Museum and Heritage Offerings

  5. During this period, museum stakeholders may wish to explore using digital/online platforms (e.g. digital/virtual tours and access to collections and content and social media entries) to reach and remain connected with audiences in order to continue educating, inspiring and uplifting spirits.

  6. The ongoing social media campaign (with its hashtags #CultureCarriesOn and #DoseOfCulture) by NHB and the Museum Roundtable seeks to facilitate continued access and enjoyment of arts, heritage and culture, even from home. Museum stakeholders are encouraged to be part of the campaign and join in with their contributions. Examples of contributions by museum stakeholders can be accessed here:

    Communications to Visitors/Participants and Other Partners

  8. All museum stakeholders should communicate their respective measures and responses to COVID-19 to visitors, participants, partners etc. through the following ways:

    1. Proactively sharing the precautions your museum has in place in terms of safe distancing, visitor registration and temperature screening, etc. Museum stakeholders may also want to pre-empt and/or manage the expectations of visitors/participants/partners that
      • Personal details may be required in order to facilitate contact tracing; 
      • There may be delays and other inconveniences as a result of visitor registration and contact tracing measures;
      • Persons who seemed unwell may be turned away and that audience members may not be allowed admission due to event/venue capacity-related considerations; and
      • Events may be cancelled/postponed, or the venue closed, possibly at short notice. 

    2. Appealing to your visitors, participants and partners to cooperate by practising good hygiene, monitoring their health and staying away from venues/events should they feel unwell (and see a doctor as soon as possible) and finally, maintaining a physical distance of 1-meter from one another.
    3. Encouraging your visitors, participants and partners to acquaint themselves with the facts of the outbreak and its spread and share them with the community as well as to avoid COVID 19-related stigmatisation or discrimination.


    Staff Communications and Policies

  9. For employees, museum stakeholders should put in place the following measures:

    1. Encouraging good hygiene and socially responsible behaviour including 
      • Promoting regular and thorough hand-washing; 
      • Donning of face-mask for those who develop symptoms at work; 
      • Ensuring hygienic disposal of used tissues; and
      • Staying home if they should have a fever or any other respiratory symptoms

    2. Making sure work surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) are cleaned with disinfectant regularly.

    3. Advising employees to consult national travel advice and defer all overseas travel, whether for official reasons or leisure. Upon their return, they should be reminded to follow the Government’s latest advice on health clearance requirements for entry to Singapore in view of COVID-19 situation.

    4. Minimising physical meetings and replacing them with teleconferencing or online sessions. If face-to-face meetings are still deemed necessary, organisations should limit the number required to attend and practise safe distancing measures as outlined in paragraph 6.

  10. Relevant portions in this section would apply also to vendors, contractors, suppliers and other partners that museum stakeholders may have dealings with.

Previous versions of Guidelines

  1. 25 March 2020
  2. 23 March 2020