The National Museums of Kenya will start the phased re-opening of all museums and monuments across the country from today (Monday) after a seven-month shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sports, Culture and Heritage Principal Secretary Josephetha Mukobe said full re-opening of the heritage sites would be done after the Ministry of Health endorses the same in response to a letter written by her ministry to that of health.
Speaking in Malindi after inspecting heritage sites, among them the Malindi Museum over the weekend, Ms. Mukobe said the National Museums of Kenya would re-open the institutions in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
“Visitors will be required to put on face masks, wash their hands with soap and running water and observe the social distancing rules to reduce risks of spreading the virus at the historical sites,” she said.
Ms. Mukobe, who was assessing the level of preparedness of the historical sites in Malindi Sub County, said her docket was working closely with the Ministry of Health to inspect the facilities.
“The National Museums of Kenya and by extension the ministry have suffered greatly due to the pandemic as we have not been able to collect any revenue from the museums and other historical sites for the last three months,” she said.
She said it was with that in mind that her ministry wrote a letter to the Ministry of Health to allow for gradual re-opening “because the pandemic is here with us and we cannot remain closed forever”.
She added: ”As you know, the advent of the infamous Covid-19 pandemic has done a lot of harm to Kenyans especially the business community. Our attractions have also suffered as nobody has been visiting them due to the pandemic.”
Mukobe, who was accompanied by NMK Director General Mzalendo Kibunja, NMK Coast Regional Director Athman Hussein and other top ministry and NMK officials noted that one of the requirements needed to reopen was to discourage people from overcrowding.
She said in addition to wearing masks, observing social distancing and washing hands with soap and running water any visitors to the museums would be required to have their temperature taken.
“Visitors whose temperature would be higher than normal will not be allowed inside the historical sites,” she said.
Malindi has popular historical sites such as the Malindi Museums, the Vasco Da Gamma’s Pillar, the Portuguese Chapel and Gedi Ruins among others, which have for years attracted thousands of local and international visitors to sample the area’s rich heritage.
By Emmanuel Masha