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A Letter from the Pax Museum Leadership - Our Museum's Crisis Response Plan

Lexington Park, MD - The Executive Committee of the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum Association, Inc. hopes that everyone reading this today remains in good health and is continuing to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming ill from the COVID-19 virus during this world-wide pandemic.  Please follow all health guidance instructions as that remains the primary way to avoid contracting the virus.

Many of you probably have been thinking about the museum during the mandated ‘Stay-At-Home’ orders from our Governor and what exactly is the current situation.  You have probably also been wondering if any thought has been given to when the museum may possibly reopen to the public.

The leadership of your museum has been very busy in the past weeks, meeting weekly (or more) via teleconference, to discuss rapidly changing conditions; keep the museum facilities safe; and work on analyzing all possible methods that we can reasonably leverage to help bring the museum safely back on-line when the Governor begins to lift the many current restrictions to normal commerce.

We have developed our initial COVID-19 virus response plan which we would like to share with you.  While not a final comprehensive plan, it will let you see the direction that we plan to move towards when the opportunity presents itself.  We have been monitoring many other museums around the world and seeing how they plan to or have already re-opened and we have been participating in dozens of virtual webinars and meetings sponsored by leaders in the health and museum fields to help gauge what our response should be.

Key aspects of the plan include:

• A reopening date for the museum shall be determined to abide by applicable State and Local government requirements, as well as by health considerations and guidelines put in place to limit and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus.  Under Governor Hogan’s Plan, we expect to fall in the medium-risk phase with social distancing rules in place.  For more on the plan, please see: Maryland STRONG Roadmap to Recovery, 24 April 2020, https://governor.maryland.gov/recovery/

• Following the guidelines, the Museum Association Board of Directors will decide when we are able to meet the requirements of the State and Local Government directives.

• Monitoring activities of the Maryland Department of Commerce, State agency, the American Alliance of Museums, Tri-County Council, Southern Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Visit St. Mary’s, other local museums, and/or appropriate local St. Mary’s County government agencies regarding potential reopening plans or actions.

• As we get closer, we will make contact with the county and engage with the St. Mary’s County Health Department to conduct a safety review of all museum spaces related to health issues and mitigation of COVID-19 effects and report back to the EXCOM with a list of recommended actions going forward.

• Talk to all staff and regular volunteers (exhibits, collections, simulators, docents, aircraft maintenance, etc.) and assess/document their specific concerns related to continued working or volunteering at the museum and/or when they would be comfortable re-engaging.

• After approval by the Board, communicate and disseminate this plan to every museum member, employee and volunteer to demonstrate that the museum leadership is focused on the effective operations of the museum for the long haul and is taking pro-active steps across the board to ensure that the health and safety of everyone is of paramount importance.

• Conduct an ‘all hands’ Board, Staff and Volunteer ZOOM VTC, after the dissemination of this plan, to have frank discussions about our situation, solicit their input, and ensure that they are kept in the loop regarding all pertinent decisions going forth with regard to reopening the museum at some future date. The EXCOM leadership will host and moderate this on-line meeting.

• Finally, develop a written policy and associated safety procedures for all museum Guests, Employees, and Volunteers prior to planned re-opening of the museum.

• Specific safety steps will include: capacity limiting for all areas, signage, masks for staff, docents and volunteers, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer stations in key locations, sneeze guards at admissions/gift shop counters, routine cleaning of all high touch surfaces, any “hands-on” exhibits will be touchless, not running the simulators due to the high touch environment they represent,  elimination of tour groups, investigating a dial a docent approach (limiting person to person contact).

• Financially, while we are spending our emergency reserve funds, and also applying for grants/loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program to bolster our emergency funds, our FY-21 budget will be built with considerations for the recovery period.


PRNAMA COVID-19 RESPONSE PLAN


We encourage you to review this document to become aware of all the steps being considered to keep you safe once we get the go-ahead from the State of Maryland to possibly reopen to the public. You are encouraged to provide feedback to the museum leadership to consider (at boardofdirectors@paxmuseum.org) as we continually revise our strategy to reflect the best possible protections to our visitors, members, staff, docents, and museum volunteers.

Sincerely,

PRNAMA Executive Committee

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