Museums around the U.S. close again as virus surges

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The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, will close on November 21 owing to a recent local and nationwide spike in Covid-19 cases, the institution announced yesterday.

Eight facilities will close Monday including: National Air and Space Museum; National Museum of African American History and Culture; National Museum of American History; National Museum of the American Indian; National Portrait Gallery; National Zoo; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Resurgent virus cases have forced a new closure of major museums and the zoo in Washington, officials said Thursday, hitting the brakes on the US capital's cautious and limited resumption of activity. Neither the NGA nor the Smithsonian has offered a reopening date, but the closures are expected to last through the winter holidays, typically one of the busiest times of year for the museums. Since then, other facilities gradually started to reopen their doors to the public.

The National Zoo and SOME museums had reopened from late July, after the pandemic forced shutdowns, with crowd-size limits and social distancing requirements. Visitors were asked to reserve free timed-entry passes to visit most locations, as the locations were operating at reduced capacity. "We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures", the Smithsonian said in its news release.

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