Smithsonian Museums Are Latest to Shutter as Virus Surges

Smithsonian temporarily closes museums, National Zoo again as Covid cases climb

The National Zoo and SOME museums had reopened from late July, after the pandemic forced shutdowns, with crowd-size limits and social distancing requirements.

The Smithsonian Institute said Thursday it will shutter its eight museums in the Washington, D.C., area as well as the National Zoo as COVID-19 cases spike across the country.

The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. announced the temporary closure of its museums, galleries and the National Zoo beginning Monday. Moreover, a reopen date has not been set "due to the changing nature of the situation".

"The Institution's top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff", the Smithsonian said in a statement. "We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures", the Smithsonian said in a statement Thursday.

Resurgent virus cases have forced a new closure of major museums and the zoo in Washington, officials said Thursday, hitting the brakes on the USA capital's cautious and limited resumption of activity.

The Smithsonian's New York City museums, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center, have been closed to the public since March 14. On Tuesday, the District reported 245 new cases, setting a record as the second highest daily case rate since May. In accordance with a gubernatorial order mandating statewide closure of institutions, The Art Institute of Chicago closed earlier this week, with the rest of the city's major institutions including the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium expected to close today.

The Smithsonian said visitors who had reserved timed-entry tickets would be contacted directly.



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