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Acropolis Museum Suspends Events Over Virus, Acropolis Upgrades Coming

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Τhe Acropolis Museum in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS - While staying open for now, the Acropolis Museum - one of Greece’s most popular sites - is curtaining three planned events for at least two weeks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

Stopped for the time being are A Walk the Museum With an Archaeologist, The Lost Statue of Athena Parthenos, and Chisel and Memory - the Contribution of the Marble Craftsmanship to the Restoration of the Acropolis Monuments, an announcement said.

The museum will continue its normal day-to-day operation, it added without explaining why that also wouldn’t be a health hazard given the crowds there and with other museums limiting how many people can enter. Archaeologists and curators will return to the museum's halls when the suspension lifts.

With uncertainty whether public gathering spots and sites might be closed as part of further government interventions to slow the spread of the virus - or whether tourists will come or be able to get into Greece if the phenomenon worsens - The Culture Ministry said it would improve access, safety and cost-efficiency at the Acropolis, which gets about 1.5 million visitors annually and is heavily congested during peak periods.

A new lift will be installed to help wheelchair visitors reach the top and see the Partheon and other attractions and there will be improvements to access ramps and paths, and better lighting for safety and to show off one of the world’s archaeological treasures.

The former Acropolis museum will also be improved although it’s secondary since the 2009 opening of the new museum not far under the site. Upgrading the site’s electrical network and improving its protection against lightning – after four people were injured last summer during a thunderstorm – are also planned.