April 20, 2024

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Coronavirus shutters Statue of Liberty, Cirque du Soleil, Smithsonian museums; Eiffel Tower closed

Major tourist hot spots across the country, including the Statue of Liberty, White House and Broadway, are taking precautionary measures by closing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Even major Las Vegas shows are suspending performances, too. 

Caesars Entertainment announced March 15 that “all ticketed live entertainment” events held in its venues would suspend performances through March 31. Major shows at Caesars properties in Las Vegas include Rod Stewart performances and Reba McEntire, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn’s residency at Caesars Palace, plus Kelly Clarkson and Shania Twain residencies at Planet Hollywood.

“Refunds and exchanges for affected dates are available at the point of purchase,” an announcement on the website read. “We are taking these bold measures now and look forward to welcoming guests back to enjoy world-class entertainment experiences as soon as we are able. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through these challenging circumstances.”

On March 14, Cirque du Soleil announced it would shut down all its shows on the Las Vegas Strip and throughout the world because of the outbreak.

Las Vegas show closures include “Ö” at the Bellagio, “KA” at MGM Grand, “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage, “Mystere” at Treasure Island, “Zumanity” at New York-New York, “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay and Blue Man Group at Luxor.

“From the very beginning of the new coronavirus outbreak, (Cirque du Soleil) took rigorous measures to protect its work teams and the public,” the statement said. “Our priority has always been, and remains, the health and safety of our artists, our partners, our employees and our audiences. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation to determine when shows will resume.” 

Tickets for canceled performances will automatically be refunded within 30 days.

Additionally, Cirque shows in Austin, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Boston, Denver and Costa Mesa, Calif., as well as Montreal, Tel Aviv, Munich, Spain (Meloneras) and Australia (Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth), also are cancelled.

Also March 14, Penn & Teller called off their long-running comedy/magic show at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Penn Jillette tweeted: “Out of concern and love for our audiences, & well, concern and love for everyone – we will be canceling our shows starting tonight for the next few weeks.”

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island closed

The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are both closed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Customers can go here for refund information, or call (877) 523-9849.

Chicago shutters ‘The Bean’ and Navy Pier

Cloud Gate Plaza, a section of Millennium Park featuring Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture nicknamed “The Bean,” has closed. The rest of the park remains open, though events and programs in the park are canceled through April 12. 

Navy Pier will also close, according to its official website. The pier is set to shut its doors to the public through April 2. 

“We recognize that these are challenging and unprecedented times,” reads a statement on the Navy Pier’s website. “Navy Pier thanks its staff, partners and guests for their ongoing cooperation and adaptability, and extends its deepest gratitude to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, health experts and public servants – in Chicago and around the world – who are continuing to serve and working tirelessly to restore the health and safety of our local and global community.”

Broadway closes until at least April

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people in a news conference March 12, shuttering Broadway as of 5 p.m. that day. Cuomo said the shutdown, which The Broadway League said will last until at least until April 12, could remain in place for far longer than one month.

Many shows were in or set to begin previews in the coming weeks. Currently, the official cutoff date for shows to open to be eligible for the 2019-2020 Tony Awards season is April 23. The nominees are set to be announced April 28, with the awards ceremony set for June 7.

Broadway national tours across the country also have canceled performances.

Though shows may be shuttered, some Broadway voices are finding ways to be heard.

Stage stars like Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Norbert Leo Butz, Kelli O’Hara, Wayne Brady, Betty Buckley and Laura Benanti will appear singing and performing live from their homes in two daily online charity shows starting March 16.

The shows are the brainchild of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, the host and producer of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway” and will follow the traditional theater times of 2 and 8 p.m. ET. The shows will encourage viewers to donate to The Actors Fund’s services for those dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and its financial costs.

The shows can be seen at The Actors Fund YouTube channel, as well as Playbill.com and BroadwayWorld.com.

Online concerts have taken on a new appeal as the virus keeps people inside. Latin singers Juanes and Alejandro Sanz recently performed on YouTube Live; a pair of Metropolitan Opera stars belted out tunes on Facebook and Instagram; the Russian-German pianist Igor Levit took to Twitter March 12 to stream his music; and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra live-streamed a Beethoven symphony.

The White House and the U.S. Capitol are closed to tours until April 1, the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms announced March 12. The Capitol Visitor Center will be closed to tours “out of concern for the health and safety of congressional employees and the public” amid broader fears about the spread of the coronavirus. During this time, only staff, credentialed press and those with official business will be allowed entry.

New York City sees closures, cancellations at the Met, Carnegie Hall, Broadway

On March 13, the New York Public Library announced it would close through the end of the month due to health concerns.

“As a precaution to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensure the health and safety of our patrons and staff, all @nypl locations will be closed starting March 14 through at least March 31,” a statement shared to Twitter read.

The Madison Square Garden Company announced on its website that it “supports Governor Cuomo’s decision regarding New York venues.”

“We encourage you to check back to this site, which will be your source for further details about our future events, which we will update regularly as more information becomes available,” the statement added.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also announced March 12 it would temporarily close its doors at its three locations: the Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters .

The Met said in a statement it “will undertake a thorough cleaning and plans to announce next steps early next week.”

“The Met’s priority is to protect and support our staff, volunteers, and visitors, and we have been taking several proactive precautionary measures, including discouraging travel to affected areas, implementing rigorous cleaning routines, and staying in close communication with New York City health officials and the Centers for Disease Control,” said Daniel H. Weiss, the museum’s president and CEO, in a release. 

“While we don’t have any confirmed cases connected to the Museum, we believe that we must do all that we can to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our community, which at this time calls for us to minimize gatherings while maintaining the cleanest environment possible,” Weiss continued.

As for the annual Met Gala held at the museum, Anna Wintour wrote in an article posted to Vogue on March 16 that this year’s event has been pushed back.

“One day that will not arrive on schedule will be the opening of the Costume Institute’s exhibition, About Time. Due to the unavoidable and responsible decision by the Metropolitan Museum to close its doors, About Time, and the opening night gala, will not take place on the date scheduled,” Wintour writes. “In the meantime, we will give you a preview of this extraordinary exhibition in our forthcoming May issue.”

Carnegie Hall also said March 12 all upcoming events and programming  through March 31 are canceled.

Those who purchased tickets by credit card from Carnegie Hall for a performance that has been canceled will receive automatic refunds, and those who purchased with cash can also receive a refund through June 30.

“With the health and safety of its public, artists, and staff as its foremost priority, Carnegie Hall today announced that it will be closed for all public events and programming through the end of March, effective midnight tonight, in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus,” the concert hall said in a statement.

Carnegie Hall had already postponed a March 27 performance by Gamin and the Nangye Gugak Orchestra “due to current challenges with traveling from South Korea related to the coronavirus.”

The Frick Collection also announced March 12 it will close its galleries and libraries and cancel all planned events. Visitors requesting a refund for these events are encouraged to contact the institution directly.

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Smithsonian museums, National Zoo to shut down

On March 13, the National Gallery of Art announced it was closing due to coronavirus concerns.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to protect the health and safety of our staff, visitors, and volunteers, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, announces a temporary closure beginning Saturday, March 14, with a tentative reopening date of Saturday, April 4, 2020,” the statement read.

The Smithsonian said in a release that all its museums and the National Zoo will close temporarily starting March 14 “as a public health precaution due to COVID-19.” No date has been set for reopening and updates will be provided on a week-to-week basis, the Smithsonian announced.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington announced  March 17 that it has canceled all public performances and events scheduled through May 10. Last week, the center announced it was canceling performances through March 31; now that has been extended two more months. 

The entire campus on the Potomac River including the restaurant, café and other food service will be closed to visitors. Officials are considering options for rescheduling artists and productions for a future date where possible.Tickets for events can be exchanged or fully refunded, according to a release from the Kennedy Center.

Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library announced March 12 in a release that it was closing immediately “after learning that two employees attended a conference at the Row Hotel in Somerville, MA last week where other attendees were confirmed to have come down with the coronavirus.” The library said both employees are in self-quarantine, and encouraged people who visited the library between March 5 and March 11 to “monitor your health for symptoms of coronavirus, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.”

On March 13, the San Diego Zoo and the adjoining Safari Park announced in a statement that the two attractions will close. “We are putting the health and well-being of our greater community first,” CEO Paul A. Baribault said.

Baribult emphasized that the animals will continue to receive dedicated care. “Our teams of wildlife care specialists, and others maintaining other critical care systems, will remain active on grounds while we are temporarily closed to the public,” he said.

Baribault marked April 1 for the planned re-opening.

Philadelphia Orchestra will play to an empty house

The Philadelphia Orchestra said it would perform Thursday’s March 12’s scheduled concert to an empty Verizon Hall, but have it broadcast live online.

The orchestra said is was offering the concert as a way to share music during a wave of event cancellations in the Philadelphia region as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grows.

Otherwise, the orchestra has canceled all rehearsals, performances and events through March 23, including performances at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Academy of Music.

Walking tours impacted by coronavirus

Though travel is diminishing as coronavirus concerns increase, some tours are still available for those interested.

Free Tours by Foot, a walking tour company which operates in DC, Seattle, Chicago, New York City and a dozen other North American cities, said it is still hosting tours on a smaller scale.

“The vast majority of our tours take place outside in small groups already. Our focus is on continuing to offer these and to arrange private tours to individual families and small groups travelling together who do not need to travel far to reach us. Like many in the service industry, we have worked with guides to take measures to help ensure the health of our guides and guests – we have a vast knowledge of where the bathrooms are to wash hands and we encourage online payment rather than cash.”

International closures: Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Guggenheim Bilbao

In case you’re in Paris, be warned: The Louvre is now closed until further notice. Elsewhere in the French capital, the Eiffel Tower is closed to the public.

In Spain, the Guggenheim Bilbao on March 14 said it will be closed until further notice.

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Contributing: Nicholas Wu, Christal Hayes, Sara Moniuszko, Andrea Mandell; Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal; Ilana Keller, Asbury Park Press; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Eiffel Tower, White House, Statue of Liberty close down

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