Louvre museum reopens in Paris as staff agree to end coronavirus protest

Visitors queue outside the Pyramid, the main entrance to the Louvre museum, on March 4, 2020.
Visitors queue outside the Pyramid, the main entrance to the Louvre museum, on March 4, 2020. © Philippe Lopez, AFP

The Louvre museum in Paris reopened to the public Wednesday after management took steps to allay staff fears over the coronavirus spread, which had sparked a two-day work stoppage.


In a statement, the world's most visited museum said that, faced with the “legitimate concerns” of staff over COVID-19, it had agreed to take “extra measures” to ensure the safety of employees and visitors alike.

The museum did not specify what measures were adopted, but a union representative said staff had been given hand sanitisers and would not be required to handle cash at the till.

Staff had refused to work on Sunday and Monday, citing a threat to health. The museum is closed to the public on Tuesdays.

The health ministry had argued there was no evidence of the “grave and imminent threat” to life or health that French employees could cite as a valid reason to refuse to work.

Visitors applauded as the doors opened Wednesday, an AFP reporter at the former royal palace reported.

The closure of the Louvre, which received 9.6 million visitors last year, had caused bitter disappointment among the thousands of tourists who flock each day to the home of the Mona Lisa.

The protest reflected growing jitters over the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed over 3,200 people worldwide, including four in France.

The government at the weekend cancelled all indoor events for more than 5,000 people as a precautionary measure.

The decision led to the cancellation of the French capital’s annual book fair, Livre Paris, which was expected to bring some 160,000 visitors to Paris this month.

The Paris half-marathon was also cancelled on Sunday, though several hundred determined athletes defied the ban.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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