Smithsonian Temporarily Closes Four Museums as Surging Coronavirus Cases Cause Staffing Shortages

Four Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. will temporarily be closed as the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 impacts its staff, the institution announced. The city is experiencing what local officials call a “winter surge” in COVID cases.

“Like many other organizations, the Smithsonian has been managing the direct and indirect outcomes of the latest surge,” the Smithsonian said in a statement. “Over the last few days, the Smithsonian has seen an increase in positive covid cases and associated quarantine periods among our essential and operational staff.”

The National Museum of African Art, the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Museum of Asian Art will be closed beginning Wednesday and are scheduled to reopen January 3.

The Smithsonian said it “strives to keep as many of our museums open to the public as possible without sacrificing the health and safety of our visitors and staff.” The temporary closures, it said, will allow staff to be reallocated in order to help keep other museums open for the week.

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SOURCE: CBS News, Tori B. Powell