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Smithsonian museums, National Zoo to close temporarily again amid rising COVID-19 cases

Smithsonian museums, National Zoo to close temporarily again amid rising COVID-19 cases
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The Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday that it plans to close all its museums and the National Zoo temporarily next week as COVID-19 cases surge in and around Washington, D.C. 

The galleries and zoo will still be available this weekend for those with timed passes before closing on Monday.

Outdoor gardens in the nation’s capital operated by the Smithsonian will remain open, the institution said.

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The move will impact eight Smithsonian sites that reopened to the public earlier this year after initially closing in March, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of American History and the National Portrait Gallery.

The Smithsonian did not immediately give a date the locations plan to reopen, but it urged social media users to “experience the Smithsonian digitally.”

D.C. has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases, as have neighboring Maryland and Virginia. At least 156 cases were reported in the District on Wednesday, as well as five fatalities.   

City officials earlier this month required out-of-state visitors to provide a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours of traveling, with some exemptions. Visitors also must obtain another test three to five days after their arrival if they are staying through that time.