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Colorado Children’s Museum forced to close over anti-mask outrage

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Colorado Children’s Museum forced to close over anti-mask outrage

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DENVER (AP) — A Colorado children’s museum is the latest victim of harassment by people angry at mask mandates designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The Denver Children’s Museum on the Marsico campus, for decades a popular downtown attraction primarily for people 8 and under, temporarily closed Wednesday due to escalating harassment of staff by adult visitors angry at a mandate requiring everyone aged 2 and over to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

“We know that the stress of the past two years has taken its toll on everyone in our community, but unfortunately some guests who object to the museum’s mask policy have inappropriately directed their anger at our staff,” the museum said in a statement announcing the closure, which began Wednesday.

Its doors will remain closed until Feb. 4 to give staff members a break and to assess how the museum can respond to visitor assaults in the future, the statement said.

“To our members and guests who follow our mask policy and cooperate with our staff, thank you. We are sorry that the unacceptable behavior of others means that you cannot enjoy the Museum at this time.

The closure was first reported by Denverite.

The museum’s president and CEO, Michael Yankovich, declined to elaborate on the incidents targeting staff. But in an emailed statement, he said they were “demoralizing and increasingly intense and frequent”. He thanked supporters across the country for rallying with museum workers.

The museum says it is following a mask mandate from the city of Denver requiring guests ages 2 and older to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. Citing the high number of COVID-19 cases, he said he was not accepting medical exemptions at this time.

Wearing a mask is optional when seated at tables inside the museum and in its outdoor park.

The museum features interactive hands-on exhibits for children and their parents, including an art studio and a fictional fire station. Annual attendance hit a record high of 611,000 before the pandemic, but has since been around 84,000 due to capacity restrictions and reduced opening hours, said associate director of marketing and communications Kimber Kuhl. .

Across the country, anti-vaccine and anti-mask protests and individual behavior have often taken frightening and violent turns. Often the abusers are the parents. Educators, health professionals, private sector workers and public figures have been vilified.

Local News Today Headlines Colorado Children’s Museum forced to close over anti-mask outrage

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