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Coronavirus In Illinois: In Accordance With New Restrictions, All Major Chicago Museums Announce They Are Temporarily Closing

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In accordance new statewide restrictions issued Tuesday by Gov. JB Pritzker to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, all of Chicago's major museums have announced that they have closed or soon will.

Pritzker said new statewide restrictions will go into effect on Friday. In addition to museums closing, there will be tighter limits for retailers. Theaters and casinos also must close.

But Pritzker stopped short of declaring a new stay-at-home order.

The governor said the new restrictions are based on a simple premise: "If you don't need to do it, don't."

In accordance with the new restrictions, the Field Museum of Natural History announced that it will be closed effective Friday, and will stay closed until at least Dec. 4.

"Our first priority is always the safety of our visitors and staff, and as a scientific institution, we are closely heeding the advice of medical and public health experts," Field Museum president Julian Siggers said in a news release. "We will remain in close contact with our local and state government to figure out a plan for safely reopening and continuing to share the world with Chicago." All staff members will continue to be paid through the closure.

While the museum is closed, it will be holding virtual members nights' tours of behind-the-scenes collections and give members a chance to talk with museum scientists. The museum store will also be available online.

The Museum of Science and Industry will be closing at 4 p.m. Wednesday and will stay closed until further notice. Those who reserved during the closure will be granted automatic refunds.

The museum advised that people could visit its Science at Home page for fun and activities and its Learning Resources hub for materials for teachers and students. The annual "Christmas Around the World" and "Holidays of Light" celebrations will be brought to people's screens at home, "with traditions and cheer to brighten a most unusual year."

The <a href="" target="_blank"Museum of Contemporary Art announced that it plans to close for two weeks, with a targeted reopening date of Friday, Dec. 4. The museum invited people to take advantage of digital offering, including the featured exhibition "The Long Dream."

The Art Institute of Chicago is already closed. Anyone who purchased tickets to attend the museum in the coming weeks will receive a refund.

Virtual programming will continue as planned.

Hours before Pritzker's announcement, the Shedd Aquarium announced will officially close at 5 p.m. Tuesday, "in continued responsibility and commitment to the safety and health of people, animals, and the community."

In statement Tuesday, aquarium officials said the target reopening date is Jan. 2. A spokesperson said all essential aquarium staff will continue to work onsite to care for the aquatic life.

The Shedd will still offer news and events virtually on social media and on their website.

The Adler Planetarium has been closed since March, with a goal of reopening in Phase 5 of the Illinois reopening plan – which requires a vaccine or effective treatment for the coronavirus.

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