VICTORIA -- The Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) in downtown Victoria reopened Friday morning after closing March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reopening was marked by a special guest, B.C.’s Lientenant Governor, Janet Austin, who passed by a small lineup of eager patrons.

The museum says that it has put in new safety measures to keep staff and guests safe.

The safety measures include new hand sanitizing stations, enhanced cleaning practices, physical distancing requirements and new physical barriers.

Visitors must also purchase timed tickets online before entering.

“How exciting it is to welcome people back after three months of being closed,” said Jack Lohman, chief executive for the RBCM.

Lohman says that a lot of planning and work went into the museum’s reopening.

“It needs to be done very deliberately, very calibrated,” he said.

“You have to think through a number of safety measures and make sure that the public, who are going to be very cautious about coming to the museum, feel very safe in this new environment.”

Admission to the museum is free for the next seven days and will be half price through to the end of July.

Not all the exhibits are open, however, as some still need further planning and adjustments to ensure safety standards are being met.

The exhibits that are currently open include the woolly mammoth and ice-age area, the natural history display and the special showing of the wildlife photographer of the year.

Exhibits that are closed for now are expected to reopen on August 1.