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The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trouble enforcing mask policy leads Denver children’s museum to close for 10 days

The museum said in a statement it will use the break to support staff and strengthen its policies

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)

Throughout the pandemic, unruly passengers and hostile customers have lashed out at workers for trying to enforce mask mandates in airplanes and restaurants. Now, the staff of a children’s museum in Colorado is feeling the wrath of Americans fed up with life in a pandemic.

The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus announced Tuesday that it will close for 10 days so it can take a break from customers who have been resisting its mask requirements.

“We know the stress of the last two years has taken a toll on everyone in our community, but regrettably, some guests who object to the Museum’s mask policy have been inappropriately directing their anger toward our staff,” the museum said in a statement on its website.

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In accordance with Denver’s public health order, masks are required inside the museum for patrons 2 years and older, no matter their vaccination status, per its website.

The museum won’t accept visitors from Jan. 26 through Feb. 4, the statement said, “so that we can support our staff and bolster our policies with the hope of preventing this type of behavior in the future.”

In an emailed statement, president and CEO Michael Yankovich said the museum cannot publicly disclose details about the incidents leading to the closure, but he called them “demoralizing” and said they have become increasingly intense and frequent.

“We met as team this morning to share our experiences, and while the conversation was difficult, it was vitally important,” Yankovich said in the statement. “Our staff voiced that they appreciate the time and space to work together to support each other and make the museum a better place for our community.” He added that specifics about updates to the museum’s policies will be posted on its website before it reopens.

The Children’s Museum of Denver said in its statement that all reservations are canceled during its temporary closure. The museum thanked and apologized to customers who have cooperated with staff and complied with the policy. “We are sorry that the unacceptable behavior of others means you cannot enjoy the museum at this time,” the statement said.

The museum’s target age ranges from newborns to 8-year-olds, but it welcomes all kids and accompanying adults and features interactive, hands-on exhibits.

As mask mandates lift, we're going to have to decide whether or not to wear a mask indoors. (Video: Monica Rodman/The Washington Post)