[UPDATES BELOW] The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Thursday that it would be temporarily closing all three of its locations in NYC—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters—starting on Friday, March 13th in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Museum said in a statement that it had been preparing for this possibility for weeks, and it will undertake "a thorough cleaning and plans to announce next steps early next week."

The Times reports that the Met has two employees who have showed symptoms of the virus: one is awaiting a test, while the other is at home. The Museum also noted that their operational plan includes provisions to support salaried and hourly staff.

Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of the Museum, said in a statement:

"The Met's priority is to protect and support our staff, volunteers, and visitors, and we have been taking several proactive precautionary measures, including discouraging travel to affected areas, implementing rigorous cleaning routines, and staying in close communication with New York City health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. While we don't have any confirmed cases connected to the Museum, we believe that we must do all that we can to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our community, which at this time calls for us to minimize gatherings while maintaining the cleanest environment possible. We look forward to soon announcing when we'll be able to welcome our staff and visitors back to the Museum."

The Met had previously closed for two days on only two occasions: after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. They did not state when they might reopen the locations.

Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness, told Gothamist that there were very difficult decisions ahead for cultural institutions like museums. "This really undermines a lot about the culture, the soul of a city," he said. "To close the Louvre in Paris, it's a big deal. As this pandemic expands and intrudes increasingly into our lives, I think there's going to be changes made that make us really potentially very uncomfortable."

In addition, all Metropolitan Opera performances and all events at Carnegie Hall have been canceled through March 31st.

"With the health and safety of its public, artists, and staff as its foremost priority, Carnegie Hall today announced that it will be closed for all public events and programming through the end of March, effective midnight tonight, in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19)," Carnegie Hall said in a statement. "All events and programming at Carnegie Hall from Friday, March 13th through Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 have been cancelled." They add that all other scheduled concerts and programming starting on April 1st and beyond remain on the schedule "pending the reopening of Carnegie Hall."

The Metropolitan Opera said in a statement, "The safety and security of our audiences and employees is the Met’s highest priority, and in canceling performances, we are following the lead of our city, state, and federal elected officials as well as the recommendations of the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)." They add that, "if you have tickets for any of these performances, the value of the tickets will automatically be credited to your Met Opera account." Get more information here.

[UPDATE BELOW: The Whitney and Guggenheim have now decided to close, scroll down for more] For now, other museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art and Guggenheim will remain open. "We are carefully monitoring the situation and will let you know if any decisions are made with regard to a closure," a spokesperson for the Whitney told Gothamist.

The Guggenheim said in a statement that they are engaging in several social distancing measures, including reducing the visitor capacity of the museum, only accept credit and debit cards, suspending their coat check service and suspending the distribution of Digital Guide rentals. They have more visitor information here; you can read their statement below.

“The health of our staff and visitors is of paramount importance to the Guggenheim. The Guggenheim is monitoring the recommendations of the CDC and other agencies regarding the potential spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking reasonable and necessary steps to promote a safe environment for our employees and visitors. We encourage our staff to follow the preventative measures recommended by the CDC. Any employees returning from high-risk locations, Level 2 or 3 countries as defined by the CDC, are encouraged to monitor their health and will be asked, upon return, to work from home for a period of 14 days. All non-essential museum travel has been suspended or postponed. We are also discussing plans to enable teleworking where appropriate in the event of a closure.”

[UPDATE: Both the AMNH and Jewish Museum have decided to close, scroll below for more] The American Museum Of Natural History said they were staying open for now as well: "At AMNH we are closely monitoring the changing situation regarding COVID 19 and are following the guidance from the CDC and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)," said spokesperson Roberto Lebron. He said they have not cancelled any programs yet, they have been posting signs reminding guests of best practices in hygiene, and have suspended business travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

Other museums and institutions who confirmed this week that they are staying open: The Jewish Museum, New-York Historical Society, The New York Botanical Garden, and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden noted that they actually had strong foot traffic last weekend, likely because of the great weather, but noted they are in touch with the city and "our peer cultural institutions daily as events unfold. A taskforce is in place and we have plans in place for possible closures by the city, as well as other contingency plans specific to our upcoming events. We’ve implemented added hygiene stations across the garden for visitors and staff, and staff are encouraged to stay home if showing signs of sickness in particular respiratory illness."

The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx said they have not made any major changes to "our exhibitions, programs, classes, events, or operations at this time. We are experiencing the same strong attendance that is traditional for this time of year during our annual Orchid Show, and with spring approaching, there is opportunity for and interest in exploring our outdoor plant collections." But they added that "senior staff are monitoring the situation and have increased planning. We have enhanced and increased the frequency of sanitization measures and procedures and posted signs advising of safe practices throughout our facilities."

The New-York Historical Society said they are following CDC guidelines and are "increasing the frequency of cleaning in the building beyond what is already taking place and offering hand sanitizing stations throughout the building." The Jewish Museum said they too are monitoring the situation closely, but all activities are taking place as normal for now. They have "assembled a working group from across the Museum to discuss preventative measures and emergency preparedness, which is meeting regularly to reassess this rapidly evolving situation. Our Operations team has been cleaning hard surfaces throughout the public and staff spaces (restrooms, door handles, elevator buttons, iPads in the galleries, etc.) multiple times a day. Hand sanitizer is available at the Admissions desk in the Museum’s lobby, in the retail shop, and throughout the staff offices."

[Update 5 p.m.] Lincoln Center has suspended all public performances and screenings as of 5 p.m. Thursday night for the month of March. And The Jewish Museum announced it will be closed to the public beginning Friday, March 13th, for a period of two weeks. Brooklyn Museum also announced that they will be closing to the public starting on Friday—they are also postponing or cancelling all programs until further notice.

[Update 8 p.m.] Three more museums have decided to temporarily close starting tomorrow: The American Museum Of Natural History (AMNH), the Guggenheim, and The Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Guggenheim calls it a "proactive" measure, and said in a statement that all public events scheduled through April 30th are canceled or postponed.

The Whitney notes that it will be open during the day Friday and close starting at 5 p.m. They say they will reassess the situation on March 27th. "Our highest priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, and visitors during this time. We look forward to reopening to our staff and community as soon as possible. In the meantime, any patrons who have purchased advance tickets for museum admission or public programs will be contacted for refunds."

On a different front, Bowery Presents announced that in line with Gov. Cuomo's ban on large gatherings, all shows throughout the rest of March will be rescheduled. "Hold onto your tickets and stay tuned to our channels for announcements regarding new dates. If shows are cancelled, ticket buyers will be notified and refunds will be available at point of purchase. We will continue to monitor the situation and bring you any more updates as soon as we have them. It breaks our hearts to have to close our doors but safety for our patrons and artists remains our number one priority. We can’t wait to see you all as soon as possible and continue to bring you the best in live music!"

[Update: 9:15 pm.] The Museum of the City of New York has released a statement saying they "will be closed to the public starting this Friday March 13th for cleaning and sanitizing of the building. The Museum has no known cases of staff testing positive for Coronavirus at this time. Public and education programs, field trips, and private tours will be temporarily suspended, and we will not be able to administer the 2020 Census during this time."

[Update: 9:45 pm.] MoMA has announced that it will close The Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street, MoMA PS1 in Queens, and the MoMA Design Stores on 53rd Street and in SoHo, effective immediately and through March 30th.

[Update noon, March 13th] The New-York Historical Society announced it too will close temporarily as of 6 p.m. Friday through at least the end of the month: "All onsite programs will be cancelled through the end of April."

The NYPL has also announced they will be closing all locations (for now, until the end of March).