Coronavirus outbreak shuts Smithsonian museums, National Zoo

A reopening date hasn't been set

All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closing as a public health precaution due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday.

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The facilities will close to the public starting Saturday. A date to reopen hasn’t been set yet due to the “rapidly changing” situation.

“We are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and maintain ongoing communication with local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control,” the institute said in a news release.

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Earlier, the Smithsonian also announced the postponement and cancelation of all public programs, events, rentals and other gatherings at its museums through May 3.

The Smithsonian operates 19 museums and galleries in the Washington, D.C. area and New York City, plus the National Zoo.

National Gallery of Art, part of Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.

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While the attractions will remain open Friday, it may be best to stay home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

There were more than 1,300 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of Thursday and 37 people had been killed by the virus.

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