Belle Grove Plantation has announced plans to begin a gradual reopening on Thursday.
“We are delighted to welcome visitors back to Belle Grove,” Executive Director Kristen Laise states in a news release.
The plantation, which normally opens in early spring, has been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive orders requiring museums and many other businesses to close, the release states.
During the first two weeks of reopening, Belle Grove’s grounds and the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center — which includes the museum shop, exhibits and restrooms — will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Belle Grove will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission to the grounds and welcome center will be free of charge from June 11-25.
Docents and staff will maintain the practice of social distancing by interacting with visitors outside, where they will offer 30-minute programs on various aspects of Belle Grove’s history at 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Picnic tables will be arranged at a safe physical distance.
Guests can also find their way around with self-guided brochures of the grounds and outdoor signage that interprets the property. No pets are allowed on the grounds.
In accordance with Virginia’s Executive Order 65, the museum will allow only 10 guests in the welcome center at a time to allow for 6 feet of distance between each person. Guests are asked to follow a one-way pattern through the museum shop and keep a safe distance from others while shopping or looking at exhibits. They are also required to wear masks while indoors, and personnel at the welcome center will also be wearing masks.
A hand sanitizer station is available for guests upon entering the building, and Belle Grove is offering extra cleaning protocols, the release states.
Though closely monitoring guidance from health and government officials, Belle Grove anticipates resuming Manor House tours on June 26. Tours will be limited to 10 guests at a time and modified to accommodate physical distancing. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for students, with $1 off for seniors, military and AAA members. Belle Grove members get in free and National Trust for Historic Preservation members for $6.
For more details, visit www.bellegrove.org or call 540-869-2028.