Smithsonian and Kennedy Center make major changes amid coronavirus outbreak

As cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continue to rise throughout the United States, these two popular organizations are taking precautionary measures.

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This post was updated on March 13, following announcements from local organizations.

National organizations across the country are postponing and canceling events attracting large crowds as a result of the novel coronavirus. Here in the DMV, the Smithsonian and the famed John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are following suit. On the evening of Thursday, March 12, both institutions announced they would close their grounds and cancel all upcoming performances.

While the Smithsonian initially planned on solely postponing and canceling all public events through Sunday, May 3 due to the swiftly spreading COVID-19, it later announced all museums in both DC and New York City, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14. According to a statement from the Smithsonian website, the staff is unable to announce a reopening date at this time, due to the “rapidly changing nature of the situation.” The Smithsonian will provide updates on a week-to-week basis via its social media platforms.

Local cultural staple The Kennedy Center announced Thursday evening that due to the increasing threat of COVID-19, all public performances and events scheduled through Tuesday, March 31 will be canceled starting Friday, March 13.

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter stated, “While this is an extraordinarily difficult decision to suspend all performances and activity throughout the month of March, it is the right thing to do to protect the health and well-being of our patrons, artists and staff.”

The online statement also noted that The Kennedy Center will do its best to offer ticket exchanges, donations and refunds to all its patrons, as the administrative staff and box office agents will be available to assist Monday through Friday,  between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you are looking for national updates, local school coverage, event cancellations and more, please visit our dedicated coronavirus coverage here

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