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COSI Delays Reopening Indefinitely As Coronavirus Cases Mount In Columbus

COSI's first ever Science Festival will be held May 1-4.

COSI has scrapped its plans to reopen Wednesday and decided to remain closed due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

Four months after shutting its doors, the science museum planned to welcome members again on July 8, and open its doors to everyone a week later on July 15.

In an announcement on its website, the museum said it’s delaying opening out of concern for the health and safety of guests and employees, citing the county's severe spread of COVID-19.

Franklin County is one of the hardest-hit in Ohio, and ranks as a red "level three" in state's Public Health Advisory System. Gov. Mike DeWine said Franklin is at risk of graduating to a "level four," based on indicators like the rate of new cases and hospitalizations.

DeWine announced a public health order Tuesday that requires people under the age of 10 to wear face masks in public spaces in Franklin and six other "level three" counties. Already, the rise in cases have pushed mayors - including Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther - to institute local rules about wearing masks inside businesses.

Tuesday, the state reported 948 more COVID-19 infections. After 805 new cases were reported Monday, this would represent the eighth-highest daily total of the pandemic.

Although the Department of Health allowed museums and other entertainment facilities to reopen on June 10, COSI didn't release its reopening plans until June 27. The museum intended to institute safety measures like increased sanitation efforts, more hand sanitizer stations and timed ticketing. Certain hands-on exhibits and shows were slated to stay closed.

COSI has not determined when it will reopen in the future, but says it plans to engage children and their families through COSI Connects, a digital platform with videos and hands-on experiment ideas. COSI memberships will automatically be adjusted for any additional access time lost to the museum.

COSI closed to the public on March 13.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.