Over the past week, the Louvre in Paris has made various attempts to stay open as the number of coronavirus cases climbs in France. There was a ban placed on cash at the museum, followed by a new ticketing policy through which only bookings submitted on the museum’s website would be accepted in an attempt to limit crowd flow. But these measures could not stave off the inevitable.
On Friday, after a directive from the French government, the Louvre announced that it would close indefinitely. The announcement came alongside a similar one from Paris’s Musée Delacroix, located across the River Seine, and it arrived just hours after the Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie said they would temporarily shutter. The Palais de Tokyo also said it would close on Friday.
There have been more than 2,800 cases of illness from the coronavirus in France. Outside Paris, the Versailles Palace also said it would close. But several major Paris art spaces have not announced closures, among them the Centre Pompidou and the Grand Palais.
Earlier this month, the Louvre closed for several days while its staff discussed precautions for guarding themselves and visitors against spreading the virus. The museum reopened after officials met with union representatives and instituted new guidelines, including masks and gloves given to workers and a stipulation that guards would no longer have to survey the crowds in the gallery where the Mona Lisa is on view.
Other major institutions that have announced closures recently include the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Albertina in Vienna.