Coronavirus: Louvre museum in Paris reopens after staff walkout

Coronavirus: Louvre museum in Paris reopens after staff walkout
Visitors queue outside the Pyramid, the main entrance to the Louvre museum in Paris on March 4, 2020. AFP
The Louvre museum in Paris reopened on Wednesday after staff being closed for three days when staff went on strike citing fears over the coronavirus.

The Louvre in Paris, the world's most visited museum, reopened after staff ended their coronavirus walkout.

Queues of visitors immediately formed outside the famous museum's entrance on Wednesday.

The museum had closed on Sunday when around 300 staff voted “almost unanimously” not to open, Christian Galani of the CGT labour union told AFP, leaving many would-be visitors disappointed.

It remained closed throughout Monday and Tuesday.

The Louvre, near the banks of the Seine river in central Paris, received 9.6 million visitors last year, most of them foreigners including Americans, Chinese and Europeans.

Louvre management later said it would refund ticket-holders.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and will keep you informed as the situation develops,” the museum said on its website.

On Saturday, the government announced several measures to try and curb the outbreak in France, including cancelling all gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces.

“The Louvre is a confined space which welcomes more than 5,000 people a day,” said Galani, adding: “there is real concern on the part of staff.”

Workers met in the morning to discuss these fears, and Galani said management representatives were unable to convince staff to go to work.

They demanded stepped up protective measures, including the provision of hand sanitising gel and window barriers to separate cashiers from members of the public.

In January, workers also forced a one-day closure in a strike over the government's pension reform plans. 

Earlier this week, the museum ended a special Leonardo da Vinci exhibition with an all-time visitors' record of nearly 1.1 million people.


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