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Five Tampa museums reached a joint decision Saturday to close for the rest of the month. The closures begin Monday and will last through March 29 at the Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Henry B. Plant Museum and The Florida Aquarium.
The museums’ top executives and directors issued a joint statement Saturday, stressing that the closures are voluntary and that there have been no known incidents of COVID-19 infections at any of the museums.
Staff at all five attractions will be paid as if they had worked their normal hours.
“This was a very difficult decision and we understand our members, guests and supporters might be disappointed, but we believe adhering to the scientific community’s recommendation to limit large scale social gatherings at this time is the right course of action,” the joint statement said.
“We look forward to welcoming our guests back and continuing to provide world-class experiences, amazing exhibits and impactful educational opportunities which makes Tampa’s cultural attractions iconic and beloved.”
The eminent closures extend to all programs, events and spring break camps scheduled at any of the five museums over the next two weeks. Yet the museums’ leadership urged students to check out the attractions’ websites for alternative ways to stay busy during an extended break from school that the Florida Department of Education announced Friday.
“Our organizations are still a resource to you even while our buildings are closed,” said Sarah Cole, president of the Glazer Children’s Museum. “Many of us have online materials, activities and more to keep you connected during these two weeks.”
The announcement comes on the heels of a recommendation from the City of Tampa that any and all public or private gatherings of 250 people or more planned for the coming weeks should be canceled to limit the risk of the coronavirus’ spread. City leaders promptly canceled their own events planned for the downtown area this week, including the River O’Green Fest and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
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