THE National Glass Centre re-opened today (Monday 28th September) for visitors, after a six-month coronavirus shutdown.
A number of safety measurements have been put in place to ensure the building is safe for the public, including numerous viral signs which can be seen when walking around, lots of hand sanitising stations, and track and trace being conducted at each entrance.
Michelle Daurat, head of business and operations at the National Glass Centre, said: “In terms of staff that work here, we’ve had a one-to-one with each of our staff members, many of whom have been on furlough for the past six months, to make sure they feel okay about coming back, and to explore any barriers they might have, so we can help them to overcome that.
“We have done all new risk assessments for all of our activities, so we looked at everything we’ve done to make sure it can be delivered in a Covid-safe way. We’ve had inductions with all of our staff so we can go through all of the changes with them.
“When it comes to visitors, we have got lots of viral signs everywhere, which you will see when you walk around, ‘keep left’ signs, lots of hand sanitiser stations, we are doing track and trace at the doors when you walk into the building’s entrances, staff are all wearing face coverings or visors. There is two-metres distancing, the shop has been completely rearranged, we have a one-way system in the café. We have done loads of thinking to make sure we’re as safe as possible for staff and visitors.”
She added that staff at the Glass Centre aim to “provide a sanitised venue, but not a sanitised experience” for visitors.
Two galleries are currently open with exhibitions which have been extended, including the main gallery upstairs, as well as the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art downstairs.
The permanent heritage gallery, shop and café are also now open to the public. Extra activities will take place over October half-term due to it being a typically busy week.
Daurat explained: “Physically, we want to be as safe as possible, but we don’t want to take the fun out of it.
“We have got our hot glass studio, but we’re not doing demonstrations; although the guys will be in there making glass all day long, you can only stand outside and look through the glass and watch them working.
“There’s still loads to do and loads to see. It’s still a lovely environment to be in, but we’ve just got to be sensible about the measures.”
For more information on the National Glass Centre and it’s events, visit their website here.