US museums close or reduce capacity as Omicron variant causes increase in Covid-19 cases

Although there is currently a distinct sense of déjà vu throughout much of the eastern United States, with northeastern states and surrounding areas seeing record numbers of variant-fueled Covid-19 cases. Omicron and lines around the corner for testing, museums are handling the skyrocketing very differently from the massive closings of March 2020. Like in London, a few have chosen to shut their doors for a week or more, but the Most are implementing more stringent entry protocols or preparing to apply new mandates imposed by their local jurisdictions.

The country’s most active arts institution, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, announced that it is reducing capacity, warning visitors to “be prepared for longer queues and waiting times outside the museum”. Visitors 12 Years of Age and Over According to New York City municipal guidelines, all visitors five years of age and over must show proof of at least one dose of vaccine.

The Whitney Museum will continue to operate under the protocols it put in place when it reopened in September 2020, according to a spokesperson. She adds, “As we monitor the impact of the Omicron variant, we continue to follow the advice of state and city and health authorities, and we are ready to make any necessary adjustments to protect the disease. health and safety of our staff and visitors. “

Across the East River, the Brooklyn Museum is following a similar playbook and has suspended food service and “canceled tours and in-person programs for the remainder of the holiday season,” one said. spokesperson. In Queens, the Noguchi Museum has chosen to close for the week (December 22-26), citing “an increase in Covid-19 cases in our region”.

Institutions beyond New York take an equally diverse approach. The Baltimore Museum of Art is also closed for the week (December 22-26), although its gift shop and restaurant remain open. “With the current increase in positive Covid cases, we need a moment to step back and make sure our staff are ready to serve museum visitors,” a note explains. on the museum website. “We believe that caution is the best way forward at this time.”

In New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University’s two main museums, the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale British Art Center, have both closed and will remain closed until January 2.

The Washington, DC-based Smithsonian Institution, which operates 19 museums in the capital and New York City, as well as the National Zoo, has no plans to reduce capacity or temporarily close any of its sites. “We are closely monitoring the number of COVID cases and consulting with public health experts and local jurisdictions to make decisions about our operations,” a Smithsonian spokesperson said.

In Massachusetts, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston will remain open at its current capacity. However, she and other Boston institutions such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Harvard Art Museums will begin requiring all visitors to show proof of vaccination when a new municipal warrant. comes into effect on January 15.

As of this writing, timed tickets to institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, Guggenheim Museum, Newark Art Museum, RISD Museum, Mass MoCA, Peabody Essex Museum, Philadelphia Art Museum and the Barnes Foundation are available for purchase online.


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