London’s Cultural Landmarks Shutter Amid Coronavirus Threat

Claire Parker, 27, came to the Shaftesbury to see “& Juliet” for the 17th time. “I’m devastated,” she said. “Some of my friends have traveled two hours to be here.” Instead, they planned to stand outside and sing through the show’s soundtrack, Ms. Parker added.

The Royal Opera House, in announcing its immediate closure on Monday, added that it would begin broadcasting free performances online. The venue, which did not specify when it may reopen, was one of several opera houses to cancel or postpone performances after the prime minister’s speech, including the English National Opera, the Welsh National Opera and the Scottish Opera.

“This suspension of performances will impact not only our loyal audience but also our committed and talented work force,” Alex Beard, the chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said in a statement on Monday. “We will work within the government guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and artists during this difficult time. Our employees, permanent and casual, are reliant on the income, which we derive through ticket purchases.”

And Sadler’s Wells, one of London’s primary dance theaters, also canceled performances at its three venues for up to 12 weeks. The organization hopes to resume performances by June 9, it said in a statement on Monday — noting that the timing could change depending on further guidance from the government.

But there was still some uncertainty among Britain’s other cultural venues. The British Museum was still waiting for clarity from the government on whether it should close, a spokeswoman said in a telephone interview on Monday.

Tate — which operates the popular Tate Modern and Tate Britain museums — was also uncertain about whether it had to close. (An employee at the Tate Modern tested positive for the coronavirus last week, The Art Newspaper reported.)

The prime minister’s order to stay away from theaters and pubs was a warning for the British public, not necessarily for institutions, but a meeting will be held on Tuesday between Britain’s culture ministry and museums, where some expect a closure to be ordered.

Alex Marshall reported from London. Nancy Coleman reported from New York.

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