Coronavirus: Tate, V&A Museum and British Museum close

The closures are in line with the UK government's advice to avoid public venues

People walk through a sparsely populated Tate Modern as the number of coronavirus cases (COVID-19) grows around the world in London, Britain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
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Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tate has announced that it will close all its galleries in the UK, namely Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives, starting Tuesday evening until Friday, May 1.

In a statement, Tate said that they would be reviewing these dates and update the public accordingly.

Following suit, the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), and Natural History Museum have also announced closures that take effect on Wednesday, March 18.

In a state, Tate said: "We believe that access to art for everyone is a universal human right. Now more than ever, art can lift our spirits, brighten our days and support our mental health. So whilst our galleries are shut, we’ll be sharing some ideas for how you can still enjoy the best of Tate online."

Tate also clarified options for customers who had already purchased tickets to exhibitions, saying: "You may choose to donate the cost of your ticket to Tate, rebook for a future date or receive a refund. Our ticketing team will be in touch with you via email in the coming days."

The British Museum released a statement from director Hartwig Fischer on Tuesday evening that states: "We've taken this decision with a heavy heart but our absolute priority is the health and safety of our staff and visitors. At present we don't know when we'll be able to reopen but we hope to be able to provide further updates soon," adding that the museum will be updating its digital content, including collections, research and programmes, to allow visitors to "stay in touch".

The V&A Museum has closed all its sites in the UK, citing the decision as "in line with the latest advice from Public Health England". Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum said it will reopen in the early summer.

As of Wednesday, there are 1,961 cases of coronavirus in the UK.

The museum and gallery closures comes at the heels of The Society of London Theatre (Solt) and UK Theatre's decision to shutter all 50 London theatres and 250 others across the country on Monday, March 16.

Other art institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery, the Serpentine in London and the Southbank Centre have also closed.