Smithsonian closes museums and zoo

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The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, will close on November 21 owing to a recent local and nationwide spike in Covid-19 cases, the institution announced yesterday.

The institution previously closed its museums and the National Zoo in March, and had a limited reopening to the public in September.

"The Institution's top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff", the Smithsonian said in a statement.

Officials did not offer a possible reopening date.

Resurgent virus cases have forced a new closure of major museums and the zoo in Washington, officials said Thursday, hitting the brakes on the USA capital's cautious and limited resumption of activity.

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The healthcare workers were tested for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 as a way of detecting who had been infected before.

The news comes just days after the announced November 20 closures of Philadelphia institutions the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will close as of Monday, November 23rd because of the rise in COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, the District reported 245 new cases, setting a record as the second highest daily case rate since May.

Moreover, 213 newly confirmed cases brings the total to 19,678, and two additional deaths raises the toll to 667.

The closures are the latest setback in a grim period for the country's museums.

"The financial state of USA museums is moving from bad to worse", Laura Lott, the president and chief executive of the American Alliance of Museums, said in a statement announcing the survey findings. Its outdoor gardens will remain open, no passes required.

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