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Chexology's COVID-19 insights - part 2

In our last post, we compiled research to help our customers gain a sense of timing for reopening. We highlighted insights from McKinsey & Company’s COVID-19: Implications for business report and aggregated trends from pioneers at the forefront of reopening.

We’ve tracked the pioneers and discovered new players to bring you an update on their timelines. As a lot of information is released daily, we wanted to post this Return Insights - Part 2 before our next post on Reimagination.

Reimagination preview

Over the past two weeks, we’ve compiled industry-relevant research for the next phase of Mckinsey’s 5 Horizons, Reimagination — what a discontinuous shift looks like and implications for how institutions should reinvest in the new normal.

What has become very clear is that contact-free experiences will be expected, creating a big challenge for brick-and-mortar foundations. Processes like handing a claim ticket back and forth will no longer be safe, so businesses will need to act fast to creatively come up with new methods that live up to both customer and government expectations.

As an example, we have shifted our priorities to innovation in order to come up with a contactless experience for checkrooms that promotes physical distancing. As one of the first and last experiences, these interactions are just a few of many (cleaning, POS, ticketing, security checks, etc.) that our industry will need to reinvent.

This crisis will demand change but not at a loss. This immediate and urgent need to rethink how the physical world interacts will also bring a competitive advantage over the digital world competition. We believe that the industry will face a difficult short-term revamp and come back with major upgrades to flourish where online alternatives just can’t. Stay tuned for our recommendations and findings!

The insights below are tailored to the hospitality, entertainment, museum, bar & nightclub, convention center, and event space network operating in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In our last post, these countries were trending toward the peak of their curves. Now, these countries have stabilized, with some beginning to trend down, whereas the pioneers are further ahead on a downward trend.

Pioneer updates

Asia’s Pioneers

A visitor appreciates a display in the Shanghai Museum in Shanghai on March 13, 2020.

Photo: China Daily’s Gao Erqiang

On March 13, venues like the Power Station of Art in China had already reopened, with more than 180 public museums across 19 provinces also planning to resume operations in March. As seen in some of the larger institutions, the number of visitors is limited to 2,000 people inside the Shanghai Museum and up to 5,000 at the China Art Museum.

Visitors get their temperatures taken before entry.

Photo: Power Station of Art, Shanghai (left), China Daily’s Gao Erqiang (right)

As detailed in ARTnews, more museums in China are planning their returns to normalcy. The UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing announced this week that it will again open its doors for the first time in four months on May 21.

In South Korea, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul rescinded previous plans to reopen on March 23. The latest report states that they will remain closed until further notice together with other museums in the country.

According to the New York Times, casinos in the Chinese enclave of Macau have reopened, adopting many of the measures U.S. casinos are considering. Business has been slow to return. In 2019, Macau casinos made $36.6 billion in gaming revenue in comparison to casinos on the Strip which made $6 billion.

Resident Advisor covered a variety of reopenings, where nightlife is starting to pick up in China. Venues in Shanghai were among the nation's first to open, with hotspots 44KW and Elevator welcoming ravers on March 12 and 20, respectively.

Elevator Reopening

OIL in Shenzhen opened to the public on March 27, the same day as several other venues, including TAG in Chengdu and Loopy in Hangzhou. At TAG, "around 10 to 15 percent of our customers are still hesitant to come out," according to club booker Aymen Hajlaoui. "I can't say for sure that we can recoup our losses, but if it continues like this, the outlook doesn't look bad."

Oil Club Reopening

According to DJ Magazine, Seoul clubs, including Faust, vurt, and Modeci opened their doors on Friday, April 24, albeit with strict health and safety policies, restricted capacity, and guidelines for entry.

Europe’s Pioneers

In Austria, mid-sized stores and other businesses will reopen on May 1, while “presentation venues in the artistic and cultural field” and “definitely museums” will be given the go-ahead in the middle of the month, said Austria’s Vice-Chancellor, Werner Kogler. State-run institutions such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Belvedere, home to Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece The Kiss, have agreed to postpone their openings to July 1.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that starting May 4, parks and gardens will reopen, and people will be able to visit relatives living in the same region. If all goes well, stores and museums will open on May 18th, and restaurants, bars, cafes, and salons on June 1, he said.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also announced that mainland Spain would enter the first phase proper of the transition on May 11. Then restaurants and hotels will be allowed to resume business, subject to a maximum of 30% occupancy.

France announced an array of measures to begin easing a strict lockdown and reignite an economy battered by the coronavirus, with plans to reopen shops starting May 11 as one of the first steps toward normalization. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe outlined the measures in a speech to parliament also stating that French restaurants and cafes may be allowed to reopen from June 2.

According to Art Newspaper, a Belgian museum director says he welcomes the opportunity for his gallery to act as a “test room” for cultural institutions opening up post-lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst (MHKA) in Antwerp plans to re-open on 19 May in line with the guidelines issued by the National Security Council, which includes the Belgian prime minister and Minister-Presidents from the regions.

Our Markets

United States

In the United States, 20 states have begun allowing businesses to reopen their doors to the public. Alaska was the first to start on April 24, with restaurants opening for in-person dining but by reservation only.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on April 27 stating that businesses can begin reopening their doors on May 1 with restrictions on capacity. Some of these businesses, like museums and libraries, must operate at 25% capacity with interactive exhibits remaining closed. Most museums have chosen to remain closed past the May 1 date as they work on putting in place effective health measures to ensure guests' safety.

In the state of Georgia, dine-in service and movie screenings were allowed to resume a few days after some other businesses, including barbershops, gyms, tattoo shops, and nail salons, began seeing customers Friday.

In Mississippi, The Natchez Convention Center will reopen tomorrow May 1, as well as the neighboring Natchez Grand Hotel.

Wynn Resorts, which has casinos in Las Vegas and Massachusetts, proposed a May 15 phased reopening, then moved it back to Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, May 22, the Neon Museum in Las Vegas will reopen with 3 new programs and a $10 ticket special for residents to celebrate.


In Canada, some provinces are planning on reopening their economies as well. Saskatchewan Premier, Scott Moe, is planning to reopen by May 4. Restaurants will be allowed to open and operate at 50% capacity in phase three of this plan. This will go up to 30 people in phase four, with casinos, arenas, galleries, theatres, and museums to reopen.

Prince Edward Island has detailed a four-phase approach to reopen, with phase three intended to begin June 12 with art galleries reopening. Restaurants could also open, but only members of the same household can dine together. There will be no buffet-style service and areas like pool tables and dance floors will remain closed.

Manitoba has so far introduced two phases to reopen its economy. In phase one, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for take-out and delivery services only. Museums and art galleries will also be allowed to reopen as part of phase one with restrictions: either a 50% reduction in capacity or 1 person per 10 square meters, whichever is lower. Dine-in service at restaurants will be allowed in the second phase set to begin no later than June 1.


Yesterday, the Northern Territory government announced a multi-staged plan to reopen, with stage one being implemented today. Museums are set to open in stage two on May 15. On June 5, casinos, bars, and nightclubs will be able to reopen so long as they have adequate COVID plans.

The Western Australian government on Wednesday announced a COVID-19 hygiene training assessment, which will be compulsory for the state's 70,000 hospitality workers. Anyone employed at a cafe, bar, or restaurant, all of which are currently restricted to takeaway and delivery orders, must complete the free course before the establishments can reopen.

According to Daily Mail, in Melbourne, pubs, and hotels won't open in Australia until at least July and when they do, patrons can expect the strict enforcement of social distancing rules until a vaccine is found, owners and infectious disease experts have warned.

United Kingdom

The UK pub giant Wetherspoon’s is planning to reopen its pubs in or around June, despite there being no government plan or a timeline for lifting restrictions. They cite their outdoor areas and larger-than-average pub sizes as helpful factors in social distancing.

McDonald’s trials UK branch reopening in lockdown and hopes to have all stores open again by July 1, when the government's job retention scheme is due to end, although the timing could change, depending on future government announcements.

Further Information

For more COVID-19 industry updates:


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