Museums Are Safer than Restaurants, a German Study Says

Ed Ruscha, Norm's La Cienega on Fire, 1964. The Broad

Uffizi Gallery director Eike Schmidt is talking up a German study that claims that visiting a museum is less likely to spread COVID than dining, shopping, or other activities. The Italian museum was recently shut down just two weeks after it reopened, due to a surging case count in Tuscany.

Because it is usually impossible to determine where someone contracted COVID, there are no real-world data on the risks of particular activities. The German study, led by Martin Kriegel of the Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin, is based on a mathematical model that takes into account such factors as the amount of time spent in a given space, how many people are masked, and whether participants are talking or breathing heavily, as in a gym. Schools and open-plan offices are judged the most dangerous, though this reflects the fact that most people spend the whole day there. 

According to this analysis, a museum visit at 30 percent capacity with everyone wearing a mask is safer than almost any other activity studied, including a hair salon appointment, eating in a restaurant at 25 percent capacity, a supermarket visit, or a commute on public transportation. 

Los Angeles' museums have been on lockdown for over 11 months.


Anonymous said…
Meanwhile, I read that the Metropolitan has a shortfall of around $150 million and its director has implied it would be wrong to rule out de-accessioning some of the museum's artworks in order to make up for the red ink.

I'm glad that LACMA, by contrast, has a really healthy budget not impacted by things like a rip-shred-trash rebuilding program.

Thanks, Michael, let them eat cake.