Friday and Saturday opening hours at York Minster will be increased by one hour allowing more people to visit the 850 year old medieval gothic cathedral this summer.
The new hours will start on Saturday (8 August) – the same day that face coverings become compulsory for people visiting churches and a range of other indoor spaces.
The Minster reopened to paying visitors on 11 July with a range of measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
These include new signs, hand-washing stations and a one-way system. Entry is by pre-booked online ticket with timed slots to ensure social distancing.
The cathedral has been operating at 20 per cent of capacity – a maximum of 500 people per day.
New visitor hours
From Saturday 8 August, York Minster’s full visitor opening hours will be:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
11am until 4.30pm, last entry 3.30pm
Friday and Saturday
10am until 4.30pm, last entry 3.30pm
12.30pm until 3.30pm, last entry 2.30pm.
Strong ‘staycation’ market
Director of visitor experience Patricia Dunlop said the move was in response to strong public demand for visits to the Minster.
“Visitors have come from all over the UK, indicating a strong ‘staycation’ market and some international tourists have also visited contributing to a strong demand for the pre-booked time slots, most of which have sold out in advance.
“Opening one hour earlier on Fridays and Saturdays will allow 100 people more to visit safely on each day.”
Saturday also marks the introduction of government guidelines requiring face coverings to be worn in churches for worship or for sightseeing.
Patricia said: “York Minster will require all visitors to wear face coverings during worship or while visiting for sightseeing. Visitors will be asked to bring their own face coverings or visors and will only be given entry to the cathedral if they are wearing them.
“We will ask anyone over the age of 11 who is not wearing a mask to put one on before entering the cathedral. We will, however, be sensitive to anyone who says that they are exempt from wearing a face covering due to a health condition.”