We’re now at the point with the coronavirus where every day brings its fair share of dire news — prompting the type of panic that is starting to affect people’s lives whether they plan on jumping on a plane in the next few weeks to a month or not. Production lines are being disrupted, annual events are being canceled, tours are being rescheduled, and this Sunday, the world’s most beloved museum, Paris’ famed Louvre, shut its doors. The Louvre attracts more than nine million visitors every year and enjoys tens of thousands of visitors each day, many of which come from abroad.
According to The Los Angeles Times, fear over the coronavirus became exacerbated amongst Louvre employees after the French government’s decision to ban indoor public gatherings of over 5,000, prompting a staff meeting Sunday morning about virus prevention that stopped the museum from opening at its scheduled time. Visitors waited outside for several hours before the Louvre announced that it would not be opening at all. The museum did not open Monday either and remains closed until further notice.
Speaking to AP, Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative, expressed his concerns about safety for the museum’s staff, “We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere… the risk is very, very, very great,” noting that though no known cases of coronavirus infection exist amongst the museum’s staff of 2,300, “it’s only a question of time.” The museum staff was also particularly concerned about museum workers from Italy who had come to the Louvre to collect works by Leonardo da Vinci, which was loaned for a recent exhibition.
The Los Angeles Times reports that another virus prevention meeting is scheduled for today at the Louvre, and Sacristin has said that visitors of the museum in the near future should expect to be subjected to health checks to protect staffers. In the event that a confirmed coronavirus case hits the Louvre, expect the museum to be closed until further notice.