PARIS • The line of about 600 people outside the Louvre on Wednesday was a swirl of rumour, with people wondering if the world's most-visited museum would open after a three-day closure.
Since Sunday, the Louvre's staff had been refusing to work, fearful they might catch the coronavirus from someone among the museum's more than 30,000 daily visitors.
Around midday, the museum's doors opened with applause from visitors.
Louvre employees voted on Sunday to stop work over safety fears, a move allowed under French law. The museum stayed closed on Monday and does not open on Tuesdays.
The museum's management, its doctor and staff representatives met throughout Tuesday to consider measures to protect workers from the virus and employees voted on Wednesday morning to accept them, Mr Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative, said in a telephone interview.
The unions representing employees asked for visitor numbers to be halved, but that request was rejected, he added.
Workers also asked to be provided with face masks and gloves. The museum agreed to a small bottle of hand sanitiser instead, Mr Sacristin said.
The museum also agreed that ticket purchases would occur largely via self-service machines. Staff members will operate two ticket kiosks, but would do so from behind a glass barrier to prevent direct contact with visitors. They will not handle cash, only credit cards.
Ms Sophie Grange, deputy head of communication for the Louvre, said on Wednesday morning that about 3,500 tickets had been bought online for that day. Such sales usually represent about 50 per cent of total visitors, she said.
In recent days, the Louvre has been turned into a test case for how large museums should respond to the coronavirus outbreak. France has more than 200 confirmed cases and several deaths.
Last Saturday, the French goRead More – Source