Cameron Art Museum to require visitors prove vaccination or negative Covid test

Starting Sept. 7, visitors Cameron Art Museum will be required to prove vaccination or provide a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours to gain entry into the museum and its onsite cafe. (Port City Daily/Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON  — A local museum is one of the first in the county to require visitors prove they’re vaccinated or show a clean bill of health against the Covid-19 virus in order to enter.

Effective Sept. 7, Cameron Art Museum will mandate its visitors, 12 years and older, to provide either a vaccination card that shows at least one dose has been administered. The card must match the visitor’s photo ID.

For those who don’t choose vaccination, CAM will accept the results of a negative Covid-19 test, taken within 72 hours of their visit.

Masks are still required in the building (regardless of vaccination status, per a recent county mandate), including the museum’s wings and CAM Café indoor seating. Masks are not required during times of eating and/or drinking at the café.

Officials from the privately funded museum — CAM receives 33% earned income, 53% contributions and 14% endowment income — said it chose this route, as the U.S. faces critical exposure to the delta variant, which makes up an estimated 90% of cases in this latest Covid-19 surge. New Hanover County’s positive tests are tracking 13.94% with 950 new cases over the last seven days, according to the CDC. The federal organization has reported 59% of New Hanover County residents have at least one shot.

“We will not ask the community to do what we will not do ourselves,” executive director Anne Brennan told Port City Daily. “We have required all employees to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing.”

Brennan revealed 90% of CAM’s staff are vaccinated as well.  

The museum looked for guidance from the American Alliance of Museums, as well as other museums in New York and New Orleans for “institutional perspective and leadership,” according to Brennan.

“As trusted community partners and critical education providers, museums can play a critical role in addressing vaccine hesitancy and fighting the pandemic,” the museum noted in its Friday-morning newsletter.

Vaccinations to enter CAM must be approved by the World Health Organization, which include Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson stateside. Pfizer received full FDA approval for children 12 and older earlier in the week.

CAM said all children under 12 not approved for vaccination will not be affected by the museum’s requirement; however, they must be chaperoned by a vaccinated adult or one presenting a negative Covid test.

Acceptable forms of proof include a hard copy or scanned photo of the CDC vaccination card, to be shown upon entry at CAM. Negative Covid-19 test results also will be shown via email or printed out.

“Our primary concern is the safety of everyone enjoying the exhibitions and programming at Cameron Art Museum, and the full service at CAM café,” the newsletter noted. “We appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to respond to ever-changing conditions.”

Last August, CAM told Wilmington Business Journal because of Covid-19 closures, it had sustained losses of $300,000 from a typical $800,000 revenue stream. To prevent further shutdowns, Brennan said the museum will keep the policy in place for as long as is necessary.

“Considering the accelerated rise of cases in our region, we feel it critical to do our part as a trusted community partner,” she added.

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