The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
**FILE** The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

The Smithsonian Institution said it will again temporarily shut down all its D.C. museums and the National Zoo on Monday amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

All of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums nationwide will remain closed until further notice, including the seven facilities in the D.C. region — the National Museum of African American History and Culture; the National Museum of American History; the National Museum of the American Indian; the National Portrait Gallery; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

The National Zoo, which is located in Rock Creek Park and operated by the Smithsonian, is also closed indefinitely.

“The institution’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of its visitors and staff,” the Smithsonian said in a statement Thursday. “We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures. We are closely monitoring guidance from local governments, public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Those with future reservations for timed-entry passes to visit one of the facilities are being contacted directly, the Smithsonian said.

The museums and the zoo closed at the outset of the pandemic in March and had reopened on a limited basis in September.

As of Friday, the United States has approximately 11.8 million coronavirus cases and 254,000 related deaths — both tops globally — according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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