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Staircase at the Vatican Museums on Nov. 12, 2015. / Gianluca Gangemi/CNA.

Vatican City, Apr 8, 2021 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

The Vatican Museums are planning to reopen to the public next month with strict new COVID-19 measures.

“Considering the continuation of the health crisis and the still uncertain situation, we communicate that, at the moment, the Vatican Museums and Gardens are expected to reopen to the public from Monday, May 3,” a message on the Vatican Museums website said.

The Vatican Museums reopened in February and the first half of March, after having been closed from Nov. 5, when the Italian government implemented tighter coronavirus restrictions, closing all museums in Italy.

Throughout the pandemic, the Vatican Museums have followed the Italian government’s measures. During a national lockdown in the spring of 2020, the museums were closed for a total of 12 weeks before reopening on June 1.

The Vatican Museums have published a five-page document listing the new rules for visitors.

“These rules are necessary to ensure that your visit can take place in the best and safest conditions,” the website said.

In addition to being required to wear a face mask at all times, visitors also will have their temperature checked, and must stay three feet away from others at all times. There are new rules which include limiting tour groups to no more than 20 people and strict requirements about entering the museum at the booked time.

All visitors must book their tickets online in advance. The usual four euro ($5) online booking fee will be waived.