Attractions closed and events canceled amid coronavirus outbreak
Airlines, train companies and transit systems are increasing their cleaning routines to keep people safe from coronavirus, but surfaces like subway poles and escalators can become contaminated quickly.
And while Shanghai Disney announced plans for a partial reopening Monday, around the world, closures and cancellations are becoming an everyday occurrence.
As the virus continues to spread, major tourist attractions and events that draw visitors from all over the world are feeling its effects.
Even Paris’ famed Louvre Museum temporarily closed its doors after an outbreak of the virus rose in France and other parts of Europe. It reopened March 5, following three days of suspended operations.
Meanwhile, the situation in Italy has become increasingly dire. On Sunday, most of Italy’s north was placed under lockdown.
On Monday in Ireland, the city of Dublin announced plans to cancel its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which typically draws huge crowds. Concerns surrounding the number and proximity of people also led to the cancellation of Cork’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
More closures and cancellations are expected. For the most up-to-date information on the status of an attraction or event, check the institution’s or event’s main web page.
One of South Korea’s most popular tourist attractions, Gyeongbokgung Palace, has suspended all official guided tours “until further notice,” according to the palace’s website. Self-guided tours, however, are permitted.
In Milan, where travel in recent days has been further restricted, the Milan Duomo’s access to tourists is closed.
The Teatro alla Scala, a popular opera house in the city, has suspended performances until April 3.
The Tokyo Skytree, a popular spot for first-time visitors to Japan’s capital city, closed on March 1, with plans to reopen March 16 “out of consideration for the health and safety of our guests and associates,” according to the attraction’s website.
Shanghai Disney, closed since January 24, is resuming operations at certain shopping and dining attractions on the premises, but the theme park itself will not reopen at this time.
Hong Kong Disneyland is also temporarily closed with no reopening date scheduled, as is the Ocean Park theme park and aquarium.
Meanwhile, in Japan, where the outbreak has escalated in recent weeks, both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are closed and set to reopen March 16, and Universal Studios has announced it too will close its doors through March 15.
Disney-themed parks aren’t the only ones impacting tourists’ travel plans. In Thailand, major theme park Legend Siam announced its closure starting March 3 due to a drop in visitors.
If you have travel plans centered around visiting a theme park or resort area, check with the park for the latest information on operations.
In a strenuous measure to contain the virus, the Italian government has ordered the closure of all museums.
Initially, just several museums in Milan, Venice and other areas in northern Italy were closed temporarily, set to reopen with new safety measures, but in recent days, the situation in Italy has escalated. As a result, all of the country’s museums have temporarily shuttered.
Museums around China have been forced to temporarily close their doors due to the outbreak. In response, China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) has asked them to stay active on social media and offer their services digitally. These include Beijing’s Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, which has been closed since January 25.
Several museums in Japan have temporarily shuttered amid the virus outbreak. The Mori Art Museum, National Museum of Modern Art and the Kyoto National Museum are among the closures, reports ARTnews.
In South Korea, the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art are among the country’s national institutions closed until further notice.
One of the world’s largest marathons, the Tokyo Marathon, went off with a major hitch on March 1.
An extremely limited field of elite runners was allowed to run the race as planned. Others were left scrambling to make different arrangements.
Following suit, in accordance with the French government’s order that all public gatherings of more than 5,000 people be canceled, Paris announced cancellation of its annual winter half marathon. The 40,000-plus running event was supposed to take place on the city’s streets on March 1.
Rome’s marathon, scheduled for March 29, has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
So far, there are no plans to cancel the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are due to begin on July 24.
But Japan’s baseball season got off to a lackluster start with the Giants first two games played in an empty Tokyo Dome.
Sumo wrestling is impacted as well. The Spring Grand Sumo Tournament, a major event that was set to begin on March 8, will be held behind closed doors without spectators for the first time in history due to the outbreak.
Several major cherry blossom festivals have also been canceled, including Tokyo’s Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Thailand Grand Prix announced its postponement, and there’s speculation that the Vietnam Grand Prix will not go on as scheduled on April 5.
No cultural corner is immune to the outbreak. Several musical artists have canceled tour dates in Asia, including BTS and Green Day. Green Day’s website indicates that the band plans to resume touring in Moscow this spring.
As to whether you should cancel or keep any upcoming travel plans, it’s a personal calculation for each traveler.