After a three day closure due to the growing threat of coronavirus, the Louvre reopened on Wednesday afternoon after a three day closure. According to the New York Times, employees of the Louvre voted on Sunday to not come into work due to safety concerns pertaining to the continued spread of COVID-19. The day prior, the French government went ahead and banned all indoor events of 5,000 people or more due to France’s coronavirus outbreak which has led to several deaths and over 200 confirmed cases in the country. Louvre employees refused to come in to work Sunday or Monday leading to a rare 3-day closure for the world’s most visited museum (the Louvre is typically closed on Tuesdays). However, while the museum is back open, the impact of coronavirus can be felt: only 3,500 tickets to the Louvre were sold online on Wednesday, which is approximately 50% of daily visitors for the museum.
The Louvre’s employees, for their part, are taking extra precautions now that they’ve agreed come back to work. Per their union representative Andre Sacristin, the museum’s management met with medical professionals and staff representatives on Tuesday to iron out some measures to protect the workers upon their return. While not all of the union’s requests were granted - the employees asked for face masks but were given “small bottles of hand sanitizer” instead - the museum agreed to limit ticket purchases to credit cards as well as to primarily use self serving kiosks in order to prevent hand to hand contact between staff and guests. Most notably, employees are no longer responsible for keeping crowds from gawking at the most famous piece of art in the museum (and arguably the world), the Mona Lisa. So, if you wanted to channel your inner Bey and Jay and stare endlessly at Mona Lisa’s smile, now might be your best shot.