As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, with global infections now approaching 90,000, the Louvre Museum in Paris has closed its doors.
Per the BBC, staff at the Louvre voted "almost unanimously" not to open on Sunday, March 1. The day before the vote, the French government banned large indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
The Louvre is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, and a line began to form outside its doors as usual on Sunday. But the museum shared a statement on its website, explaining that a meeting was being held to review the "public health situation linked to Covid-19 prevention measures."
During the meeting, management reportedly tried to reassure employees that the risk was contained, but did not succeed. Staff refused to return to work after the meeting, per the New York Times, and instead staged a walkout.
"Despite talks with management and the staff doctor, the Louvre Museum was unable to open in the absence of sufficient personnel," a spokeswoman for the museum said. Another meeting is due to take place on Monday, but it's unclear when the Louvre may reopen.
A union official representing the museum's staff, Christian Galani spoke with the French news agency AFP about the decision. "The Louvre is a confined space which welcomes more than 5,000 people a day," he explained. "There is real concern on the part of staff."
France has reported 178 coronavirus cases since January, and at least two deaths.
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