Amid increasing COVID-19 cases, the Smithsonian Institution will once again close the doors to its museums and the National Zoo.
The Smithsonian announced in a press release Thursday that despite its reopening in July after the previous closure, the network of eight Smithsonian locations including the National Zoo will once again close to the public starting Monday. The shuttered museums are National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Renwick Gallery, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, according to a DCist report.
“The Institution’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff,” the release states. “We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures.”
Following Mayor Muriel Bowser’s declaration of a state of emergency in March, the Smithsonian was one of the many businesses, stores and events that closed or postponed activities to help combat the pandemic.
No reopening date has been announced for the eight Smithsonian facilities in the D.C. area due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic, but the release states that Smithsonian officials are following local government and public health officials to assess future plans, according to DCist.
DCist reported that there are “currently no plans” to cut additional staff members after the Smithsonian already laid off 230 employees due to a loss of about $49 million in revenue between March and September.
The Smithsonian’s release states the public will still be able to access the museums’ “virtual exhibitions, online collections and education resources.”