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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Due to the continually evolving nature of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) we recommend regularly checking the Scottish Government and NHS Inform websites. This page was last reviewed on 25/03/2020.

This page contains information for museums and is signposting to wellbeing, medical and business continuity advice on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. For information on Museums Galleries Scotland's response to the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, including information on funding, workforce development and Museum Accreditation, please use the link below.  

Museums Galleries Scotland's Response on Coronavirus (Covid-19)

We're gathering details on the impact of Covid-19 on Scotland’s museums & galleries to share with the Scottish Government. Please email or call 0131 550 4100 with details of issues you're currently or anticipate facing. Thank you to all who have been in touch already and do keep us updated on your circumstances.


Social distancing and museums and galleries

The UK Government’s measures on social distancing published on 20 March include museums and galleries among the entertainment and hospitality premises instructed to close temporarily to delay the spread of coronavirus.


Information and helpline for Scottish businesses

Scottish Enterprise have gathered together a list of websites that give useful information for employers and businesses. If you have further questions there is also a business helpline number where you can speak to a Scottish Enterprise advisers. Visit 

The Scottish Government has launched a helpline to provide businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19. 

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660 and it is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.


Financial Support

New emergency funds have been introduced this week. MGS is looking at how these apply to museums and galleries and will continue to update these pages.

 The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates reliefs (discounts) and one-off grants for some businesses. Museums and galleries are included among the businesses eligible to apply.

 The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period.


Business Continuity Advice

The ACAS website has updated information for employers on issues such as sick pay, homeworking and site closure.

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) have published business resilience guidance for museums on their website.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have published guidance for Scottish charities on the Coronavirus with a Third Sector Coronavirus Information Hub that may be helpful to museums


Best Practice to Follow

You should review your current business continuity plans now and consider and update to reflect the current situation. If you have not already done so make contact with your key suppliers regarding continued services, supplies and due diligence. Consider taking steps to ensure key services, such as payroll and financial, can continue to function should staff members become ill.

Be transparent and communicate with your staff about the situation, the steps you are taking and the processes they need to be aware of.

If your staff are working from home ensure that they have the equipment and training necessary to do so. Do they have access to the internet if that is going to be required. 

Ensure that your staff details and emergency contacts details are up to date and that staff have updated their line managers and HR of any additional health concerns.


Free Advice Surgeries for Independent Museums

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM), supported by Museums Galleries Scotland, are offering free advice surgeries for Accredited museums or museums working towards Accreditation in Scotland. The advice surgeries can offer support with the issues your museum is facing right now as a result of the Coronavirus situation and look at how your organisation might need to adapt and change. Issues might include; finance, leadership, HR, business continuity, or maintaining volunteer engagement.

 Up to an hour of support by email, phone or video conferencing is available. For more information and to apply for a free advice surgery please visit this page.


Medical Advice

The Scottish Government have released a Four-Nations Action Plan and Scotland specific response arrangements which outlines their strategy plan for dealing with an outbreak.

The NHS Inform website is providing up to date advice on key issues such as:

  • what to do and who to contact if you have symptoms
  • how to prevent infection
  • high-risk areas around the world
  • advice on self-isolation
  • a helpline for those who do not have symptoms and are looking for general information
  • a poster, video and social media posts for organisations to print and share

Health Protection Scotland have issued guidance for sites that operate in a non-healthcare setting. This advice is for both staff and service users. It includes:

  • Preventing the spread of infection on your site
  • Actions to take if someone who may be at risk of COVID-19 becomes unwell whilst on site at your organisation
  • Cleaning and disinfection 


Wellbeing Advice

The unknown nature of the Coronavirus, and ongoing news coverage, may lead to an increase in anxiety in staff members. It is important to listen to any concerns staff may have. ACAS have provided information on their advice for employers page.

The mental health charity, Mind, have free resources available for employers to support employees dealing with mental health issues. Mind has also created a guide, Coronavirus and your Wellbeing, which provides advice to help you cope with anxiety about the virus. It also provides support and checklists in case you need to self-isolate.

We know that many museums will have specific questions and we will continue to update this page to sign post to more advice when it becomes available.



Published 06 March 2020