Closure of the Saint-Louis art museum due to COVID cases

Museum officials said they saw a rapid increase in cases among employees and their families. They plan to reopen on February 1.

ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis Art Museum will close to the public for the remainder of January due to an increase in COVID-19 cases among staff members.

The museum said it will continue to operate until 5 p.m. Friday. Authorities plan to reopen on Tuesday February 1.

“The COVID protocols that we have adopted over the past two years have ensured the safety of the museum visit. However, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in our community, along with positive cases of COVID among museum employees and their families, has compromised our ability to operate the museum for the benefit of our visitors while continuing to be safe for our staff, ”the museum wrote in a press release.

While museum spokesperson Matthew Hathaway said he was unable to provide figures on the infection or close contact for staff members, he told the Business Journal in an email Friday that officials began to see the “trend” at the start of this week. On Thursday, the number of cases, quarantines or domestic exhibits in some critical operational areas led officials to consider whether keeping the St. Louis Art Museum open “made sense or was sustainable with the number of cases. current, “according to Hathaway.

“While we can never know how it happened, there have been many cases reported before people returned to work after taking vacation time last week,” he added. he wrote in an email. “We are not aware of any cases of spread between staff members or infected staff members through contact at the museum.” However, it is difficult to pin this information separately from other community broadcasts, he added.

The programs and tours that were planned for January will be canceled. More details on their return will be released later this month.

Guests who have purchased tickets for the Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration exhibition will have their tickets automatically refunded. The exhibition was to last until Sunday. It will not be extended, art museum officials said.

“During this public closure, the museum will continue to offer robust virtual programs and explore ways to further strengthen the procedures that will allow us to reopen safely,” the museum wrote in its statement.

Officials will share reopening updates on the Saint-Louis Art Museum website and social media pages.

Later on Friday, the Missouri Historical Society announced that its three sites would be closed until February due to similar COVID-19 and personnel issues.

The city of Saint-Louis and the entire Saint-Louis region have seen a rapid increase in cases of the virus as highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread rapidly.

The most recent data on the city’s COVID-19 dashboard shows a seven-day average of 431 new confirmed cases per day. The average positivity rate is 35%.

The city’s health department announced on Thursday that it is choosing not to follow the latest CDC guidelines that reduce the number of days of isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. Health director Mati Hlatshwayo Davis has recommended people infected with the virus stay in isolation for 10 days, unless they test negative on day 5.

There are several COVID-19 testing sites available in the city of St. Louis. See a full list here.

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Reggie S. Williams