On Sunday, the world’s most visited museum was closed after workers feared they may become infected with COVID-19 from the gallery’s constant flow of visitors from around the world. Last year, most of the Louvre’s 9.6 million visitors came from abroad.
In a bid to coax the museum's 2,300 workers back to work, administrators amplified virus prevention efforts, distributing disinfectant gels and scheduling more frequent staff rotations for hand washing, The Associated Press reports.
As part of its latest efforts, employees will also be pulled back from the Mona Lisa, one of the museum's most famous pieces. Instead, workers will be posted at the entrances of the room where Leonardo da Vinci’s work is displayed, as opposed to rubbing shoulders with the general public inside.
The museum is also eschewing cash in a bid to stave off germs. According to the AP, the Louvre is accepting card-only payments for the time being — though the move could cause conflict with the Bank of France, which argued that refusing cash is illegal and unnecessary.
Public health historian Patrick Zylberman described the fear of catching diseases from money as age-old, and chuckled at the Louvre’s new cash refusal policy.
“It's a bit risible to go backwards by several centuries and act as our predecessors did in the 17th century,” Zylberman told the outlet. “That shows how nervous people are during an epidemic.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.