First, it came for men and for cruises, then it came for beards, and now the coronavirus has set its sights on the arts. Sunday morning the Louvre Museum, the most popular museum in the world, closed its doors after some of the museum’s 2,300 employees expressed concerns about potential exposure to the virus.
Some visitors to the museum waited for upwards of three hours on Sunday morning, hanging around into the afternoon hoping that the opening was simply delayed and not completely suspended. Eventually, the Louvre announced it would indeed be closed for the day.
The decision to close was, it appears, largely due to the power of the museum staff’s union, which had previously been less than successful in gaining the support for its members it sought from the museum’s management.
When employees of the museum had previously asked for masks, they were instead given alcohol-based disinfectant for their hands. Which is, as it turns out, the not same thing. “That didn’t please us at all,” said Andre Sacristin, an employee at the Louvre and a union representative.
There is a meeting scheduled for Monday between union representatives and museum management to determine what the next steps will be, where it appears the union will ask for health screenings for guests prior to them gaining access to the museum.
Naturally, as people are wont to do, those who were waiting outside the Lourve Sunday morning complained about the museum’s decision to close, “It was incredibly disappointing,” said one guest who had flown to Paris with his wife on their honeymoon, and had counted on a visit to the Louvre as being part of their trip. Now, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but your inability to get stuck in the middle of a crowd and stand on your tippy-toes twenty-two feet away from the surprisingly small Mona Lisa while attempting to get a blurry iPhone picture is not more important than the health and safety of the workers who are interacting with thousands of people on a regular basis.
Surely, as more cases of the coronavirus are reported, more things will close down, and if for one second you feel compelled to complain about an inconvenience that you experience at the expense of protecting both your health and the health of another person, just keep it to yourself. With Mike Pence handling virus stateside, there’s honestly no telling how it’s gonna go. So, if not seeing some old famous artwork is still your biggest concern when it comes to the coronavirus, as opposed to, you know, something like being able to afford the vaccine should it become available, you’re probably doing just fine.