When you walk through the inner city of Graz right now, you’ll notice that all museums linked with the Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz are currently closed (and have been since 11 March) and have large signs on their front-doors that will open up again on July 1. With not only pretty much every restaurant but also most of the federal museums already being available to customers/visitors, this seems a bit weird especially since the rest of May has enough holidays to be attractive for (at least regional) tourists.
I was curious as to why the long downtime compared to some of the other museums but, sadly, the only relevant article about this on kleinezeitung.at is behind a paywall. Luckily, the museum’s website has some hints:
Wir möchten Ihnen aber auch nicht vorenthalten, dass die notgedrungene Schließung unserer Häuser einen großen finanziellen Verlust für uns bedeutet, den wir nur eingrenzen können, indem wir unseren Betrieb noch bis Ende Juni in sehr eingeschränkter und somit kostensparender Form gestalten. — https://www.museum-joanneum.at/ihr-besuch/aktuell
This basically means that they decided to close the museums until the end of June in order to better control the financial damage that might/will arise from the uncertainty around COVID-19. One part of this is also that all 379 employees have been registered for “Corona-Kurzarbeit” between 4 April and 3 July.
The date of 1 July for the reopening was originally coordinated with federal museums and was announced in early April and laterrevised in late April. Universalmuseum Joanneum stuck with the original re-opening timeline, I assume, because of the uncertainty around COVID-19 and also the costs associated with having people on stand-by if you have to check every couple of days if you can re-open or not. So while I’m personally sad, that these museums aren’t available to me right now, I can definitely understand why (if what I wrote above is even close to the actual reasoning) 🙂
Btw.: Since 18 May some of the outdoor installations of the group have started to open up again!