Here’s what D.C. Visitors can do during the Coronavirus Pandemic
It’s cherry blossom season, the busiest time to visit Washington D.C. But today, precautions established to stop the spread COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have drastically altered the region’s landscape in new and far-reaching ways. Pretty much everything is closed after Stay at Home orders from Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Maryland and Virginia governors. It’s still okay to exercise, but if you spend time outside, be mindful of social distancing and frequent hand washing. Use sanitizer, and do not touch those touchable surfaces whenever possible. Some places remain open at this time, but this changes every day. For more information check Washington.org.
To combat the spread of this novel virus, the federal government, bars, restaurants and other public facilities have shut their doors to protect the public from close contact. Large venues where people attend events have discontinued operations. Sporting events have come to a halt. The National Zoo has shut its entry gate, and there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol, State Department, U.S. Treasury and White House until further notice.All Smithsonian Museums are closed and daily programming ceased until May 1. The National Gallery of Art is closed until April 4. Also shuttered are the Library of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court, National Archives and the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Pentagon Tours have been discontinued. The Senate and House Offices are closed to the public until April 1.The new National Children’s Museum is closed. The Washington Monument, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality NM, Ford’s Theatre NHS and the Old Post Office Tower are temporarily closed. Arlington Cemetery is off limits to anyone except those attending an official funeral. The National Building Museum is closed, as is the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Conservatory, although you can tour the grounds. Woodrow Wilson House plans to resume operations on March 27. The U.S. Holocaust Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts and Heurich House Museum are all temporarily closed. National Geographic Museum is closed through March 31. The Museum of the Bible and The Spy Museum have closed, as well as the DAR Museum (Daughters of the American Revolution). The National Cathedral and The Phillips Collection are closed temporarily. Check the websites for updates.
All sporting events have been cancelled, including the chance to see the Washington Nationals, 2019 World Series Champs, throw their first pitch of the season. The NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitalshave cancelled their seasons. Colleges, including Georgetown University, American University and the University of Maryland, have sent students home, and cancelled all sporting events. Major League Soccer’s DC United andWashington Spirit have suspended matches temporarily.
Performing arts venues like The Kennedy Center and Ford’s Theatre have ceased programming, citing the need to protect visitors, staff and the general population from the outbreak. The Anthem, 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theatre are closed.
The most anticipated event of the year, the Cherry Blossom Festival has been cancelled. The Washington DC Convention Center has ceased holding events. The festival grounds and events at RFK Stadium have shut down. Many churches are shut temporarily, so check each website for specific information. The D.C. Streetcar has ceased operating,
All restaurants, bars and gyms are closed in Maryland and the District of Columbia. If you want to order food, you can take it back to your hotel or eat in the many parks that remain open in the region.
The Metro subway and buses continue to operate but are limiting service. The National Park Service has closed all the memorials and monuments on the National Mall as well as the nearest subway stops. Check the website for more information NPS.gov/locations/dc
Washington DC’s National Mall is a wide-open space that allows for limited community contact. You can still take a walk on the gravel paths and enjoy the beauty of the budding trees and majesty of the marble buildings. Checking out the statues around the U.S. Capitol on a lovely spring stroll, but refrain from touching. There are also lots of wonderful trails open like Rock Creek Park, C&O Canal and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail but all visitor services, restrooms, and many parking lots are closed.
Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.