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WOW! Children's Museum forced to close again due to COVID-19

Museums are considered indoor events and must close in counties under the 'severe risk' level on the state's COVID-19 dial.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — It was a tough day for WOW! Children's Museum in Lafayette after having to close its doors for the second time during the pandemic.

"We completely understand and we're so committed to our community's health," said Joanna Cagan, Executive Director of WOW! Children's Museum. "So of course when we understood the new restrictions we were going to close down. But it is frustrating."

The museum is located in Boulder County, which is under the state's 'severe risk' level on the COVID-19 dial. The county's department of public health explained museums fall under Indoor Events so they are required to close in level red. County officials said museums could host events outdoors. 

The WOW! Museum's main attraction is indoors. The museum is filled with educational hands-on exhibits for children to play and learn.

Being prevented from sharing those experiences with kids in-person is the most frustrating part for Cagan.

"Children's lives have changed so much in the past nine months," Cagan said. "But young children still need safe places to play and young children still learn best from play space learning. And that's what we're all about."

The closure will hurt the museum financially as well, according to Cagan. WOW! first closed in March during the early Stay at Home orders. It reopened in August with COVID-19 restrictions, including reduced capacity.

"As wonderful as it's been to have community members back, we haven't been nearly making as much revenue in a normal August, September, October," Cagan said. "It's a terrible financial blow for us and yet we have no choice."

She explained 75% of the non-profit's earned revenue comes from ticket and membership sales. The other 25% comes from contributions.

Even with finances stretched thin and the building closed, Cagan insisted the museum's purpose is ongoing.

"Our mission as a non-profit is still as strong as ever," she said. "The world around us is changing and we have to stay current in following restrictions."

WOW! Children's Museum is offering virtual experiences for families through its website. That includes things like 'WOW at Home' activities, virtual science experiments, and even virtual potty training.

> Download the videos here on their website. 

The museum has also partnered with Lafayette's local food bank and community center Sister Carmen to provide "playful kits" for food bank recipients.

WOW! Children's Museum does not have a planned reopening. Cagan added it will not reopen until it's safe to do so.

Donations to WOW! Children's Museum are being collected on their website.

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