The Met Is Reopening: Grab Your Timed Ticket and Give Your Bike to the Valet

An Italian Renaissance study will be closed to visitors because it is too small to allow for social distancing.

Timed tickets will be scanned by hand-held devices in the Great Hall.

And, for the first time, there will be valet parking for bicycles, since many people are avoiding mass transit.

It is tempting to hope that all will be business as usual when the Metropolitan Museum of Art finally swings open its Fifth Avenue doors to the general public on Saturday, after five months of closure because of the coronavirus outbreak.

But because the pandemic continues to convulse the globe, the country’s largest museum will, in many ways, reopen as a very different Met.

To the extent that the Met is the largest of its peers, the museum is at a distinct advantage — two million square feet of floor space to allow for social distancing. Smaller New York institutions must reopen in more circumscribed ways. The Tenement Museum will have a phased reopening beginning Sept. 12, and the Drawing Center will reopen by appointment only starting Oct. 7.

“This is one more way to make the museum accessible to visitors,” said Kenneth Weine, the Met’s vice president of external affairs and an avid biker, who thought up the idea. “We know New Yorkers are eager to visit, and that many more are biking.”

To be sure, there are reasons to be nervous. Will people come? Will they submit to temperature checks, wear masks and observe distancing guidelines? Will the virus eventually surge again in New York City, possibly forcing the museum to shut down once more?

These are the questions that have been keeping Mr. Sullivan up at night. “I worry — did we get all the details right?” he said. “Did I miss something? Am I forgetting something?”

But there have also been purely joyful aspects of the process, Met staff members said, such as opening the exhibition of Jacob Lawrence’s rarely seen series of paintings, “Struggle: From the History of the American People” (1954-56), which highlights the experiences of women and people of color.

While the Met’s Gerhard Richter show at the Breuer building will not reopen — the Frick has taken over the space — four paintings from the artist’s important “Birkenau” series will be on view in the main building starting in September.

In anticipation of its reopening, the Met has dedicated, for the first time, the facade spaces usually used for exhibition banners to display art: two new banners that Yoko Ono created in response to the pandemic featuring the words “Dream” and “Together.”

Rebekah Laskin, a Brooklyn-based jewelry artist, said she was looking forward to reuniting with a museum she has missed. “The Met is a touchstone for me — it always has been,” she said. “It’s a place I go for refuge, inspiration and delight.”

Despite all the careful planning, there are bound to be kinks; the Met — like museums everywhere — is in uncharted territory. “I think about hurricanes, blizzards, 9/11, blackouts — all sorts of big New York City events that took place and having to get the doors open or closed and take care of the staff,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“But I never could have pictured something like this,” he added. “We’re opening the doors to a completely different world.”