MANSFIELD — Little Buckeye Children’s Museum (LBCM) will be opening its doors for the first time in seven months. The museum which closed down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic will reopen on Thursday, Oct. 8 with new safety guidelines.

The new safety guidelines will include: temperature checks upon entry to the museum, increased sanitation measures and facemasks being required for those five years of age or older. The reopening plan will be a slow process with it going through multiple phases according to Fred Boll, the Executive Director of LBCM.

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum will also have reduced hours as part of its phased reopening plan. To start, the museum will be open for reservations Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As part of the plan LBCM will be moving to a timed entry based system to limit the amount of people who can attend the museum in a day. This is a system which has been adapted by other attractions in Ohio such as the Columbus Zoo and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“We’ll be starting with only members being allowed to make appointments and later on in October we hope to let the general public make appointments,” Boll said.

The reopening plan will also see certain exhibits in the museum be severely altered or closed off to the public. The dinosaur dig, where kids can pretend to be a paleontologist discovering fossils, had to be heavily modified and the blue room, an exhibit where children can build forts using foam blocks, has been shut down.

“We’ve had to make some changes; a few exhibits have been closed due to cleaning restrictions. There also generally less objects to play with,” Boll said. “Other than that it’s just like playing in the museum in the past, you’ll be able to go from exhibit to exhibit at your own leisure.”

Boll has been cautious to reopen the museum, having looked to other children’s museums from across the country as well as following the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.

An excerpt from an email sent out to LBCM members contains a full list of it’s new guidelines:

· Members arriving without a timed admission ticket reserved online in advance and those without valid I.D. cannot be accommodated and will be denied entry.

· All Visitors will be required to complete a Health Declaration and Waiver of Liability Form at the time of reservation.

· All Visitors must agree to abide by our Sick Guest Policy.

· Face coverings are required for all Little Buckeye Team Members and all Visitors ages 5 and up. High-risks individuals, including those who cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons, are not recommended to visit at this time. Individuals who cannot wear a face covering due to medical reasons can call 419-522-2332 to discuss possible arrangements.

· Visitors wearing face coverings deemed inappropriate at the discretion of Little Buckeye Team Members, and those who remove their face coverings or do not wear them properly (covering their nose and mouth) will be asked to leave.

· All Little Buckeye Team Members and Visitors will have their temperatures checked upon entry to the museum using a touch-less thermometer. Individuals with a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees F will be denied entry.

· Any Visitors exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be denied entry.

· All Little Buckeye Team Members and Visitors should utilize hand sanitizer stations as they enter the building. Hand sanitizer stations have also been placed throughout the museum.

· Signage to encourage social distancing and proper hygiene as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control has been posted throughout the museum.

· No food will be permitted in the museum at this time. We will no longer sell snacks or drinks.

· Strollers will not be permitted in exhibit areas at this time.

· For health and safety reasons, all Visitors must wear shoes at all times.

· Cashier shields have been installed at our front desk for the safety of our Visitors and Team Members.

· Signage and floor decals have been placed throughout the museum to encourage appropriate social distancing.

· Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols have been put in place to ensure the museum remains as clean as possible.

· In order to execute our enhanced cleaning protocols, exhibits have been modified and some exhibits will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Please view our Reopening Plan for details.

· Little Buckeye Team Members will monitor the museum and reinforce protocols as necessary. Visitors who remove their face coverings or fail to maintain social distancing will be asked to leave.

· Any visitors who have come into close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days are asked not to visit the museum until they are well.

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