The Louvre reopened after closing due to staff concerns about the coronavirus.
Visitors in the Spanish painting galleries at the Louvre. Photo by Coyau, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Louvre has reopened its doors following conversations between museum management, union officials, staff, and the Ministry of Health, after concerns about the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak forced the Paris museum to close for 2 days earlier this week, Sunday and Monday. A spokesperson for the museum said management officials met with trade union representatives on March 3rd.
The Louvre closed its doors as the French government banned “indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people.” The museum welcomes some 30,000 visitors on a daily basis—it had 9.6 million visitors last year, and its recently closed Leonardo da Vinci exhibition averaged 9,783 daily visitors—raising worry among Louvre employees. Following the talks between stakeholders, museum officials seem pleased about the clearance to reopen. On Tuesday, France reported a total of 212 cases of the coronavirus, and four deaths.
The Louvre’s managing director, Maxence Langlois-Berthelot, said in a statement quoted by The Art Newspaper:
Our top priority is to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. At the moment, the [relevant] authorities recommend that museums reopen; I am delighted that we can achieve this.
While the Louvre reopened to the public on Wednesday, art institutions and events continued to adapt to the growing global outbreak of the novel coronavirus. While national museums in the U.K. remain open, other countries face challenges in trying to contain the spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, the organizers of Art Fair Tokyo canceled the 2020 edition of the fair, originally slated to run March 19–22, following similar decisions by the organizers of Art Dubai and Art Basel in Hong Kong. Art Fair Tokyo’s organizers said in a statement:
At this time, in consideration of the current spread of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), Art Tokyo Association has decided to place utmost priority on the prevention of the domestic and international spread of the virus and has voluntarily suspended and canceled this year’s “Art Fair Tokyo 2020.”
Also on Wednesday the opening of the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale was postponed three months, from May 23rd to August 29th.