Louvre reopens following coronavirus fears
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Louvre reopens following coronavirus fears

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The world's most visited museum has reopened in Paris after Louvre management introduced a number of measures to combat coronavirus.

The museum was forced to close on Sunday after Louvre employees raised concerns over a potential infection, voting to stop work over safety fears – something allowed under French laws. On Wednesday (4 March), staff voted overwhelmingly to return to work, after management presented a number of new measures to protect employees and visitors from the virus.

Among the measures taken, there will be a wider distribution of disinfectant gels and more frequent staff rotations for regular hand washing. For the museum's most-visited exhibit – Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, guards will now only be posted at the entrances, rather than in the room itself. Employees had asked the museum to half its visitor numbers, but that request was rejected.

France is currently the seventh-worst country hit by coronavirus, with 285 confirmed cases and four deaths. France's government has taken steps to try and halt its spread, on 29 February banning all indoor events of more than 5,000 people. The ban does not apply to the Louvre because its visitors are dispersed throughout many rooms of the museum.

According to the latest edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme and Museum Index, the Louvre had a record-breaking year in 2018 with 10.2 million visitors. These figures were particularly substantial for both the Louvre and Paris, with the result representing significant recovery from the museum’s 30 per cent downturn in 2017 – a drop largely attributed to a plunge in tourism volumes during a time of unrest in the French capital.

Other culture sites in Europe have taken steps to try and protect their visitors. museums in northern Italy reopened on Tuesday (3 March) following a government-ordered closure, but new guidelines are advising visitors to keep at least a meter apart at all times. Some of the reopened museums have also suspended group tours and children's workshops as a precaution.

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The world's most visited museum has reopened in Paris after Louvre management introduced a number of measures to combat coronavirus.
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