As the U.S. death toll and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus continue to climb, some of Denver’s highest-trafficked museums are taking steps to ensure its visitors stay healthy.
The Denver Art Museum, which sees 800,000 patrons a year, is staying open for anyone who wants to explore its exhibitions and collections, but not without precautions.
“Given recent health news, the museum is closely following global developments, and has implemented additional procedures focused on maintaining a healthy museum environment through employee education and facility sanitization,” museum spokeswoman Kristy Bassuener told Colorado Politics in an email. “Those procedures include following cleaning protocols outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as communicating healthy workplace guidelines to our staff and volunteers.”
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which averages about 3,500 guests a day, "is taking extra steps beyond its already rigorous cleaning practices, including increasing the frequency of cleaning high-touch areas throughout the museum, communicating best practices for maintaining healthy work environments to staff and volunteers, and posting signage in all our restrooms encouraging effective hand-washing practices," spokeswoman Maura ONeal said in a statement.
Although no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Colorado, 21 tests were still pending as of Tuesday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. At least 58 tests have been conducted.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved emergency funding to combat the spread of the virus. The legislation, sponsored by Democratic U.S. Rep Diana DeGette of Colorado, will provide $8.3 billion toward the effort.
“What we have learned from combating similar viruses such as this is that time is of the essence,” DeGette said in a Wednesday release. “We need all hands on deck to identify those who have been infected and help curb the spread as much as possible. This emergency spending is vital to providing our state and local governments the tools and resources they will need to help us fight this virus.”
The legislation also was sponsored by Colorado Democratic U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter. Colorado Republican Rep. Scott Tipton also voted in favor of the bill, but GOP Rep. Ken Buck voted down the measure, explaining in a tweet that “throwing money at a problem without adequate forethought is not the answer.”