Coronavirus: Heritage sites to close across Isle of Man

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House of Manannan
Image caption,
The House of Manannan will close its doors to the public on Friday

Heritage sites across the Isle of Man will be closed for several months to "support efforts to contain" the spread of coronavirus, Manx National Heritage (MNH) has said.

The Manx Museum and House of Manannan will shut for the "foreseeable future" at 17:00 GMT on Friday.

Seasonal attractions, including the Great Laxey Wheel and Peel Castle, will remain closed until at least 1 June.

An MNH spokesman said the health of the community was its "first priority".

Several site staff and visitors had "underlying health issues" or fell into the "vulnerable category", he added.

Of 50 tests carried out for the virus so far on the island, there have been no positive cases.

Image caption,
The Great Laxey Wheel was was due to open on 1 April

MNH operates various historical attractions across the island during the summer season as well museums in Douglas and Peel, which open all year round.

It also holds events and school workshops, which have been postponed or cancelled until at least June.

Several other attractions and gatherings have been impacted amid fears about the spread of the virus, including the Manx Music Festival.

Organisers of the annual event, which was due to take place at the Villa Marina next month, said they felt it was "not responsible to go ahead" in the current climate.

The volunteer-run Manx Aviation and Military Museum in Ballasalla has closed until further notice and Rushen Heritage Trust has postponed several of its events, including the opening of its World War Two Women's Internment exhibition in May.

Organisers of the island's first pride festival, Isle of Pride, said the event would be pushed back until 2021.

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