SOME of East Lothian’s biggest attractions have closed their doors in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus in the county.

National Museums Scotland, which operates the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, confirmed that all of its venues closed from 5pm on Tuesday.

Alongside the Museum of Flight, it also manages National Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum.

A National Museums Scotland spokeswoman said: “In response to the impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) we have made the decision to close all our museums to the public from Tuesday, March 17, at 5pm until further notice.

“This will include the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle.

“All scheduled exhibitions and events will be postponed until further notice, including the display of the Declaration of Arbroath.

“We will make a further announcement once new display dates have been agreed.

“The national collections within our care will continue to be monitored and made secure during this time.”

Meanwhile, all staffed Historic Environment Scotland properties in East Lothian, including Dirleton Castle and Tantallon Castle, are also closed.

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said: “In light of updated Scottish Government advice regarding coronavirus, we have taken the decision to close public access to our staffed properties and offices until further notice, with effect from 5pm on Wednesday, March 18.

“All planned public events will also be postponed until further notice.

“The safety of our staff, visitors and partners is of paramount importance and we have taken this decision in line with the latest Scottish Government advice.

“Our seasonal sites will not be opening as normally scheduled in April 2020. However, our unstaffed sites will be open and are free to access.”

All East Lothian Council’s museums have also shut: these are John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar, the John Gray Centre museum in Haddington, Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery and Prestongrange Museum at Prestonpans – the latter two are currently closed for the winter season but will not open as planned this spring.

Musselburgh Museum and the Coastal Communities Museum in North Berwick are also shut until further notice.

The Coastal Communities Museum had originally planned to launch its new exhibition on April 4 – those at the museum say they will be ready to welcome the public when it is safe to do so.

Barbara Clark, acting chair at the museum, said: “The health and wellbeing of our visitors, user groups and volunteers is our highest priority.

“Given the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak, as a precautionary measure, we are postponing our 2020 exhibition launch event that was due to take place on April 2 and postponing the seasonal opening of the museum itself, until further notice.”

Elsewhere, Muirfield Riding Therapy (MRT) at West Fenton closed its doors on Tuesday with immediate effect.

The closure includes the cancellation or postponement of all fundraising events until the end of May.

Michelle Sutton, chair, said: “As has always been the case, the health and well being of our riders and volunteers is the priority in our decision-making process.

“With the recent Government announcements, we feel we can no longer operate our riding therapy sessions.

“I know that this will be really disappointing to those people who will miss the last two weeks of their terms riding.

“We are already getting calls about when we will reopen – the honest answer is we simply do not know.

“We will review again on a regular basis but I do not expect to open before June 1 and so unlikely to offer regular sessions until after the summer holidays. If you need to get in touch please drop us an email and we will respond as soon as we can.”