MONTEVIDEO (AP) – Museums, cultural centers, theaters, cinemas and performance halls were enabled by the Uruguayan government to receive public. This is the first country in Latin America that manages to do it throughout its territory amid the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
The protocol was unveiled on Friday, and museums and cultural centers opened between Monday and Tuesday. For theaters, cinemas and other venues, the measure has already entered into force but it will be over the weekend when they resume their activities. For the reopening of these spaces, the authorities demanded a strict protocol that would be more flexible if the health situation allows it.
One of the first to open during the day was the National Museum of Visual Arts (MNAV), which has some 6,700 works.
“Museums are easier, unfortunately fewer people go,” Mariana Wainstein, director of Uruguayan culture, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Unlike other Latin American countries – like Argentina, Peru and El Salvador, which still keep a large part of their activities on hiatus – Uruguay’s bars, restaurants, shopping centers, schools and industrial activities have been operating for weeks. Only the performing arts rooms, museums, cultural centers and sports shows have been disabled since March 13, when the health emergency was declared in the country.
The protocol approved by the Ministry of Public Health requires a capacity of 30% or five square meters per visitor to museums. It also requires, among other things, personnel training, detailed disinfection, natural ventilation, the use of face masks and signage on the floor to keep two meters away. All staff must sign their consent to the protocol.
Since this regulation was disseminated on social networks, several artists began to wonder why crowds are tolerated on public transport or in shopping centers, but there is such strict control over cultural activities.
“This year forces us to adapt to a freedom that has the appearance of absurdity. Art is the complete opposite of social distance, ”Wainstein told the AP. The theater director and cultural manager trusts that “the protocol will evolve, it is dynamic. We see, we measure and we move on. ”
The first MNAV visit occurred half an hour after the doors opened. “I already had it planned, the museums start to open and I came,” Cecilia Pollio, 62, told the AP.
The protocol does not recommend that people over 65 enter museums, but President Luis Lacalle Pou has emphasized “the responsible freedom” of citizens to take care of themselves and others. The responsibility that the government asks of Uruguayans is based on the work of the scientific group that advises the Executive Power and that is repeated as one of the factors that apparently allowed controlling the epidemic in the South American country that currently has only four people in care intensive.
So far in the pandemic, Uruguay has registered 1,291 infections and 36 deaths.
Enrique Aguerre, director of the MNAV, highlights the oil “An episode of yellow fever in Buenos Aires”. The realistic and symbolic work of the painter Juan Manuel Blanes shows a baby crawling on the floor looking for the chest of his dead mother and a deceased father on a cot while two doctors open the door of a house in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.
The figures vary but the most widely accepted is that this pandemic cost 7% of the Buenos Aires population, 14,000 people in 1871. A year later the disease crossed the Río de la Plata to Montevideo. It was the cause of death of almost 500 people, 0.45% of the inhabitants of the capital at the time.
The head of the MNAV explains that “oil is a compliment to science, modernity, to illuminate what we do not know or against which we have to fight, as now, curiously. What saves us and makes us go forward are the scientific developments, think together, act responsibly in society ”.