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Denver children's museum closes temporarily after anger at its mask policy

A worker hands a nasal swab to a motorist at a drive-up COVID-19 testing site in Denver on Jan. 13.
David Zalubowski
A worker hands a nasal swab to a motorist at a drive-up COVID-19 testing site in Denver on Jan. 13.

A Denver children's museum has temporarily closed after patrons directed anger at staff over its mask policy.

"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 Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus said in a message on its website.

The museum remains closed through Feb. 4.

The museum requires patrons to wear masks inside, in accordance with a local public health order. The museum requires all patrons age two and older to wear masks indoors, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Masks must be cloth or disposable and are required to cover the nose and mouth. Face shields and mesh masks are not permitted.

Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the museum said it was not accepting medical exemptions, according to museum policies last updated on Jan. 13. New daily COVID-19 cases peaked in Denver on Jan. 6, according to reports on the city's dashboard.

Museum President and CEO Michael Yankovich toldThe Washington Post that the museum couldn't disclose details about the incidents that prompted the closure, but he called them "demoralizing" and said they have become intense and frequent.

On its website, the museum said it closed its doors in an effort to "bolster our policies with the hope of preventing this type of behavior in the future."

The museum thanked guests and members who have cooperated with the mask policy, adding: "We are sorry that the unacceptable behavior of others means you cannot enjoy the Museum at this time."

This story first appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

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Rina Torchinsky