No reopening in sight for Shanghai art venues as city’s Covid-19 lockdown ends

Shanghai’s tough two-month lockdown was officially lifted yesterday (June 1) – but cultural venues have been given no deadline for reopening.

The majority of Shanghai residents are now allowed to move freely, and most restaurants, factories and offices have been ordered to resume operations.

But a municipal press release said arts spaces, alongside gymnasiums and theaters, would remain closed until further notice and must now await clearance from the Office of Culture and Tourism.

Although tourist sites have reopened, they have done so with capacity restrictions. Visitors are required to provide a contact tracing location code and wear masks, as well as provide documentation of a negative PCR test within 72 hours. These protocols will likely also be required for cultural spaces.

“We are awaiting further notice from the Culture and Tourism Bureau, and then we will have to apply for a special venue code,” says Grace Cheng, media manager of Bank, a contemporary art gallery located in Anfu Lu Art Street. . “Only then can we reopen.

Official bodies affiliated with the Chinese government have offered rent relief or subsidies to cultural spaces affected by the months of forced closure, but only certain galleries can apply, Cheng says.

“Only places funded by the government or domestic enterprises can apply, for a maximum of six months,” Cheng says. “The bank is not so lucky.”

But some public museums are also subject to the same expectation and uncertainty. “We are still awaiting direction from the Office of Culture and Tourism on when the museum will open, but our staff should be able to come to the office next week and sanitize and prepare the museum,” a museum spokesperson said. Yuz. “Once we know when we can open, we will post it on WeChat. I think all museums should open around the same time.

A spokesperson for UCCA Edge adds that they will soon be able to resume installing exhibits, so the museum is ready to open as soon as permission is issued.

Even as the city of 26 million comes back to life, reminders of two months of lockdown remain. A number of Shanghai neighborhoods that have recently recorded positive Covid cases remain on lockdown, with some enclosed in green fences or plywood walls. Several compounds resumed isolation after cases were detected yesterday.

Several of the mass quarantine centers, where all confirmed Covid patients are held, remain operational. This includes the largest center, which has a capacity of 50,000 people, being held at the National Convention and Exhibition Center, according to state media. The number of people who are still detained there is no longer released.

Throughout the lockdown, many art venues in Shanghai. including the West Bund Art & Design Center, were commandeered and reassigned to quarantine camps. These also appear to remain in operation. Several galleries within the complex have confirmed that they continue to be denied access to their spaces and have not been given any time limits for future access. The outdoor spaces of the M50 arts complex, however, have been open to the public and workers since yesterday, although its galleries cannot yet open.

Shanghai’s first opening day brought further chaos with crowded, hours-long queues at testing sites for PCRs needed within 48 to 72 hours to access various sites.

Beijing, meanwhile, continues to have mass closures and relocations of some neighborhoods, but some movement is still permitted for much of the city. Most galleries and museums in Beijing closed to the public in May, with staff working from home. But UCCA reopened on June 1 after a 28-day closure, and M Woods’ 798 location reopens on June 3.

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