A GRANT from The National Lottery Heritage Fund has helped three York attractions in the JORVIK Group re-open following their Covid-19 closure.

A £50,000 grant helped prepare JORVIK Viking Centre, Barley Hall and DIG with their re-opening planning - with Barley Hall welcoming 8,500 visitors since reopening.

Sarah Maltby, Director of Attractions, said: “Our attractions all come under the charitable banner of York Archaeological Trust, and the expense of restructuring our attractions so that they would operate with social distancing guidelines, additional safety measures and reduced visitor numbers was considerable, especially have lost three and a half months of admissions revenue across the group.

“So much planning, expert advice, risk assessing and, at times, changes to our physical infrastructure have been required to re-open safely, but we know that we are a critical part of York’s destination offering, and everyone across the tourism and hospitality sectors needs to pull together if we are to recover.

“We are hugely grateful to National Lottery Players for making it possible for The National Lottery Heritage Fund to provide support exactly when and where it was needed, and it is a testament to this funding that we were able to welcome 8,500 in just over a week of re-opening.

Items funded by the scheme include the safety equipment visitors will see around the attractions, from digital thermometers and thermal cameras to monitor visitors’ temperatures, to sanitising stations and equipment to keep the attractions as safe as possible. Even Viking interpreters are wearing PPE alongside their more traditional 10th-century clothing – an essential anachronism to keep both staff and visitors safe.

“Visiting all three attractions is a different experience since we re-opened.

“At JORVIK, we’ve had to completely reconfigure our initial ‘Discover Coppergate’ gallery, as our film projected onto the walls would have been obscured by visitors observing social distancing, but the fund supported the team in creating new live interpretation."

At Barley Hall, the shop has been moved to a different part of the building, and a one-way system created so that visitors can see all part of the historic manor house – including the Magic & Mystery Exhibition – without crossing paths with other visitors.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefitting our personal wellbeing.

"All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this crisis.”

To book at the York attractions visit jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk.