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Smithsonian announces temporary closures of four museums amid COVID-19 surge


Four Smithsonian museums will temporarily close because of rising COVID-19 infections.

The National Museum of African Art, the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Museum of Asian Art will close Wednesday and reopen Jan. 3, according to a press release.

“Like many other organizations, the Smithsonian has been managing the direct and indirect outcomes of the latest surge in covid infections caused by the omicron variant,” the museums said in a statement. 

“Over the last few days, the Smithsonian has seen an increase in positive covid cases and associated quarantine periods among our essential and operational staff. The closures of these four museums will allow the Smithsonian to reallocate staff and keep all other museums open for the remainder of the week,” the statement added. 

The museum also said that it intended to try “to keep as many of our museums open to the public as possible without sacrificing the health and safety of our visitors and staff.”

The decision comes as COVID-19 cases in D.C. and across the world rise in a surge fueled by the omicron variant. 

Recent daily case numbers in Washington, D.C., are at the highest they have been throughout the entire pandemic. With an average of 2,071 cases per day, the city has seen a 931 percent increase from averages just two weeks ago, according to The New York Times

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported an 11 percent increase in the past week of cases reported globally.

Tags COVID-19 surge Omicron variant Smithsonian Institution
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