The trustees and curator had hoped to re-open the museum sometime in August 2020. During August, the cases of coronavirus infection began increasing in neighbouring Oldham and plans were put on hold until late August as the museum awaited expected news of a stricter local lockdown.
On the 21st August 2020 Oldham Borough Council announced the tightening up of restrictions on all Oldham post codes. These included a restriction on meeting people indoors, an instruction to work from home, the wearing of face coverings and other measures affecting leisure and hospitality.
The museum management committee arranged a meeting (self-distanced and outdoors) on the 22nd August and confirmed that the museum would not re-open as planned. The committee would meet again once the local lockdown restrictions were eased. They would then review the impact of the changes on the museum’s re-opening plans.
In the meantime, they would develop their website to deal with on-line orders (appointments had already been arranged within the new website) and look to re-opening the lottery scheme with “virtual” draws since a coffee morning on the 2nd Wednesday of each month would not be possible. The curator would also review any changes to the furlough scheme and may need to consider re-opening the museum in a restricted way after October 31st, 2020.
(editor’s note-since this press release the area has gone into high alert with the Greater Manchester mayor under discussions with the UK Government so the featured image has been updated)