With Omicron on the Rise, Museums on America’s Eastern Seaboard Shutter or Reduce Admittance as Protective Measures


Winter is here—and with it, a new variety of coronavirus, the highly contagious omicron variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared omicron—which has hit the New York area hard already, accounting for 90 percent of new infections—the dominant strain nationwide on Monday.

Art museums in New York and elsewhere are taking measures to help control the new variant’s spread.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has served as a model for other museums dealing with the pandemic, is now limiting attendance to about 10,000 visitors a day, approximately half the number it would see during a normal holiday season, reports the New York Times.

“Reduced density is a first step we can take,” the museum’s president, Daniel Weiss, said, adding: “our dedicated staff has done an extraordinary job in making necessary changes to adapt to our public health circumstances while also allowing the museum to remain open and keep everyone safe.”

The museum will also cut food services and will ask many employees to work from home.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is closing its doors through December 29 as the result of an increase in positive coronavirus tests, reports the Times.

Other museums are also taking new measures.

The Brooklyn Museum saw dwindling attendance in recent weeks, according to a press representative. Now, the museum is canceling in-person tours and programs through January 13. Timed-entry ticketing will remain in place, along with existing protocols, such as requiring proof of vaccination. Staff that can perform their jobs remotely will work from home through mid-January.

Emails to the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National September 11 Memorial were not immediately answered.

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