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Florida Aquarium, Glazer Children's Museum, MOSI and more to close amid coronavirus concerns

Officials advised families to check out their attractions' websites for educational materials.

TAMPA, Fla. — Several Tampa Bay-area museums and attractions will close because of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The region's Glazer Children's Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Henry B. Plant Museum and The Florida Aquarium will close starting Monday, March 16.

The Florida Aquarium will remain closed until May 10. All others will remain closed through Sunday, March 29.

In a news release, officials stress there are no known incidents of COVID-19 at any of the five museums and the closure is voluntary.

The closures will affect the attractions' camps typically held during spring break. For example, Glazer Children's Museum lists its spring break camp on its website.

"This was a very difficult decision and we understand our members, guests and supporters might be disappointed, but we believe adhering to the scientific community's recommendation to limit large social gatherings at this time is the right course of action," officials said in a joint statement. "We look forward to welcoming our guests back and continuing to provide world-class experiences, amazing exhibits and impactful educational opportunities which makes Tampa’s cultural attractions iconic and beloved."

On Friday, the Florida Department of Education directed schools across the state to shut down for two weeks as part of a larger effort to limit the spread of the virus.

For many Tampa Bay area schools, the instructions mean they'll be extending their spring breaks. Most of the schools in the area are on spring break the week of March 16-20. 

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Employees at each of the museums and attractions will be paid their full compensation per their regular work schedule during the two-week period.

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