Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Long Bunna Sireyvath said on Thursday that 10 major museums have been instructed to close temporarily in line with the government’s efforts to reduce areas with large concentrations of people to contain Covid-19.
He said the museums, which contained a range of historical documents, artefacts, and war exhibits, were shut along with a number of smaller museums across several provinces.
The 10 large museums, he said, were among the countries most active, and attracted national and international visitors on a daily basis.
“We closed 10 major museums on Wednesday. Museums in some provinces such as in Battambang, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap were also closed.
“The closure will affect business and tourism, but more importantly it will help to stop the Covid-19 infections,” he said.
Apsara National Authority (ANA) spokesman Long Kosal said on Thursday that Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor, Lortany, and the Asian Traditional Textiles Museum were also closed to tourists on Wednesday until further notice.
“The decision to reopen depends entirely on the Covid-19 situation. When museums close, it has an impact. But the same impacts are being felt all over the world right now.
“The focus is on the protection of tourists and citizens. We have to take measures to protect against the coronavirus because it is extremely dangerous. Leaving these centres and museums open would be a huge risk due to the constant flow of tourists,” he said.
Cambodia Tourism Association (CTA) president Chanda Kle supported the move saying it was necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19. She urged lower-level officials in charge of the museums to respect and implement the recommendations.
“Museum closures always affect the state and its people. While they’re closed, the state and the tourism sectors will not generate any income while the tourist guides will not generate any income either.
“However the protection of the people is paramount, so the measures are unfortunate but necessary,” she said.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts on Wednesday said: “To the directors of the Departments of Culture and Fine Arts in the capital and provinces, the public, Travel Guide Associations, travel agencies, travel companies, national and international tourists, please note that the Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap and museums and historical sites across the country will be closed effective from March 18.”