COVID19 & Saskatchewan Museums
Please see below for collected information and resources regarding the novel coronavirus and its impacts for Saskatchewan museums. These resources are not to be taken as legal advice or a definitive answer for any particular museum, but rather as a guide for preparedness for the field. We encourage members to consult relevant policies & legislation.
It is important that we inform ourselves of the facts and precautionary measures that can be taken to mitigate the spread of the COVID19 virus. Public health agencies advise the public to take appropriate measures to prevent any potential spreading of the virus. People are also encouraged to stay informed through credible sources such as the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) website, which is frequently updated to reflect the current situation in Canada.
Workplaces also need to undertake preventative measures; the World Health Organization has information help employers mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.
There are additional considerations for organizations that have public gatherings planned. The PHAC website has a guide to risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings that may be helpful to anyone deciding whether a planned public event should be cancelled or postponed. SaskCulture has compiled a valuable resource about What to Do if You Must Cancel an Event.
Here at MAS, we recognize that COVID19 may impact our programming, Network Meetings and conference plans as we move forward. We are monitoring the situation carefully and if any issues are anticipated, we will be in touch immediately. We have recently tested the virtual meeting software Zoom Meeting and have held a MAS Board meeting and another committee meeting through this method, and it was very effective. If necessary, we could use this program to hold any meetings virtually.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns and we will do our best to assist you.
Resources for Museum Practice
From the Public Health Agency of Canada COVID-19 Prevention and Risks HERE
Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
- use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- when coughing or sneezing:
- cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
- dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
Preparing for Public Gatherings
From the Public Health Agency of Canada: Risk management for mass gatherings during COVID-19 HERE
Risk mitigation strategies could include:
- reducing the number of participants or changing the venue to prevent crowding;
- staggering arrivals and departures;
- providing packaged refreshments instead of a buffet;
- increasing access to handwashing stations;
- promoting personal protective practices (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, staying home if ill);
- offering virtual or live-streamed activities; and
- changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.
Collections & Facilities Care
- Canadian Conservation Institute: Guide for Winter Museum Closures HERE
- University of Alberta Museums: Guide for Emergency Preparedness- Preparations Prior to Closure HERE
- US National Park Service: Safer Cleaning Alternatives For The Museum & Visitor Centre HERE
From the Public Health Agency of Canada: Community-based measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 HERE
Cleaning public spaces:
- Cleaning of high traffic public spaces (e.g. malls, airports, public transportation) should follow regular cleaning and disinfecting regimes, both in terms of products used and surfaces targeted, as it is not likely practical/sustainable to increase the frequency of cleaning. Community settings are encouraged to develop protocols for cleaning public spaces if they currently do not have an established cleaning routine.
- Workplaces and other similar community settings are encouraged to clean highly touched surfaces (e.g. phones, elevator buttons, washrooms, tables) frequently and to recommend and facilitate increased hand hygiene. It is also recommended that items that cannot be easily cleaned (e.g., newspapers, magazines, stuffed toys) be removed.
Human Resources & Business Continuity Planning
From the World Health Organization: Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19 HERE
Flexible work arrangements and sick leave:
- Where feasible, adjust policies to reduce social contact, such as:
- flexible hours
- staggering start times
- teleworking arrangements
- using email and teleconferencing
- Relax sick leave policies to support employees in self-isolating when ill.
- This includes suspending the need for medical notes and reduces the burden on an already stressed health care system.
- Prepare for increases in absenteeism due to illness among employees and their families or possibly school closures.
- Access your business continuity plan for how to maintain key business functions if faced with high absenteeism.
- Consider the need for cross-training personnel to function in key positions.
Emergency Preparedness & Risk Management
American Alliance of Museums Resources
The American Alliance of Museums has collected a comprehensive set of U.S.-focused resources for the museum field in light of COVID-19.
Directory of Resources
- Reviewing staff policies and administrative concerns
- Reviewing cleaning and collections care policies
- Preparing for closures
- Preventing spread at public events and programs
- Preparing for COVID-19 as an individual
- Using digital platforms to remain connected to audiences during quarantines
- Other useful resources
Read more HERE.
Note: This resource page was adpated from the Ontario Museums Association's COVID19 page.