A Louvre employee and union representative, Andre Sacristin, explained to the Associated Press that the museum receives visitors from across the world. Per the Daily News, more than nine million people visited the Louvre Museum in 2019. Almost 75 percent of these visitors came from regions outside of France. This type of contact puts the employees at a higher risk of catching the virus.
"We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere," Sacristin said. "The risk is very, very, very great."
Adding to concerns is news that the virus has made it's way to Italy. More than 1,100 coronavirus cases have been reported in the country according to the Daily News. This has led to 29 deaths, making the country the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe. A group of Italian museum workers came to the Louvre to collect works from Leonardo da Vinci that were loaned to the museum. Although none of the employees have been infected, Sacristin feels like "it’s only a question of time" before these interactions result in illness.
Also, people from all over the globe are flooding the city for Paris Fashion Week. It is possible that these tourists would want to take a break from the festivities and visit the Louvre. Keeping the doors open so they can do so will only increase the employee's risk of catching the virus.
This comes after the French government has banned all indoor gathering of 5,000 people or more. Sacristin says another employee meeting will be held on Monday during which workers hope to come up with virus prevention policies.