Coronavirus information and FAQs about Washington, DC
Find the latest status of museums, attractions and events in and around Washington, DC during the coronavirus pandemic.
Phase Two Adjustments
Washington, DC has been in Phase Two of reopening since June. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser laid out plans to make some Phase Two adjustments with the recent spike in coronavirus cases. The mayor also recently announced that the city's The public health emergency is in effect through March 31, 2021. Please note, the following adjustments started as of Jan. 22, at 5 a.m.:
Restaurants are required to reduce indoor dining capacity to 25 percent. Outdoor dining and carry out/delivery may continue.
Museums can open with 250 people allowed per floor and no guided tours.
Indoor gatherings are capped at 10 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people (both decreased from 50). These numbers apply to business meetings.
Hotels: limited meetings are permitted for groups of up to 10 people indoors, hotel restaurants may open in accordance with restaurant guidance
Essential and non-essential retailers may have patrons inside with 25% capacity, or no more than 250 people, whichever is fewer.
The District’s live entertainment pilot program is suspended.
The National Mall DC Circulator bus route is suspended.
Libraries are closed but patrons may pick up and drop off materials.
DC Travel Requirements
The District Government issued updated travel requirements, effective Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, for anyone traveling into Washington, DC from a jurisdiction with more than 10 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people:
Get a test within 72 hours of traveling, and if the test is positive, don’t travel.
If you are a close contact of a confirmed positive case, don’t travel.
If you are a visitor to DC for more than three days, get tested within 3-5 days of arrival.
Adhere to the mandatory mask policy, exceptions include vigorous exercise or while actively eating or drinking
Note that private institutions (universities, employers, hotels, hospitals, congregate care facilities and houses of worship) may ask visitors about recent travel and may require a record of a negative COVID-19 test before allowing admittance to their facility.
Exceptions to the travel requirements:
Visitors from Maryland and Virginia
People coming to DC for essential work may carry out those duties prior to receiving the results of their second test in DC (as long as they do not have symptoms or were not a close contact of a positive case within the past 14 days)
Visitors who are coming into DC for less than 24 hours
People traveling to DC for a family emergency or a funeral do not need to obtain a negative test prior to coming if obtaining such a test would be impractical, but must restrict their activities to those related to the emergency
DC residents returning to the District after traveling to any place other than Maryland, Virginia or a low-risk state or country must limit daily activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon their return OR limit daily activities until they get tested for COVID-19 (approximately 72 hours after their return) and receive a negative result.
Travel – Travelers must abide by the latest travel requirements (see above). Do not travel if sick, with someone who is sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. For those who meet the criteria to travel, continue social distancing and wear masks in public, especially indoors. If you are on essential travel, as defined by the Mayor’s March 30 order, you are required to self-monitor for symptoms and limit activities to the extent possible. Read more.
Restaurants – Service is open for outdoor dining, and indoor dining at 25-percent capacity. Bar areas are only open for seating without a bartender present. Tables are limited to 6 people max. Read more.
Museums/Exhibits/Events – Museums can open with 250 people allowed per floor and no guided tours. Read more.
Parks/Gardens/Recreation – Dog parks, golf courses, parks (but not playgrounds), tennis courts, tracks and fields opened in Phase One. Capacity for public gatherings is now at 50 people. Visitors should socially distance and remain 6 feet from one another. Recreation centers, bowling alleys, climbing gyms, squash or racquet clubs, skating rinks and skateboard parks have closed amid Phase Two adjustments. Read more. Outdoor attractions like the National Park Service Sites, Monuments and Memorials at the National Mall and around the city remain open.
Theaters/Cinemas/Entertainment Centers – These venues are closed. open if granted a waiver to ensure social distance measures, contact tracing and other safety protocols by Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) to hold an arts, entertainment or cultural event. Read more.
Retail – Nonessential retail businesses may open to customers for indoor shopping if the number of persons in the establishment is at 25 percent capacity or no more than 250 people. Barbershops and hair salons opened in Phase One with select services, Phase Two allows the reopening of tanning, tattoo, waxing, threading, electrolysis, cryotherapy, facial and other skin services and nail salons, requiring one client per employee, face coverings at all times and social distancing. Read more.
Transportation – Non-essential ridesharing in a taxi or rideshare vehicle is permitted. if ill, unless it is absolutely necessary, and not use carpool options. Wear face coverings and socially distance as much as possible. Read more. Customers should socially distance and are required to wear face coverings when traveling Metro.
Visitors to Washington, DC should follow the protective steps outlined by the CDC:
Wash hands often, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Cough into your elbow and sneeze into a tissue
Consult with a doctor before traveling when sick
Stay up to date on vaccinations
Avoid traveling if you are sick
Avoid contact with people who are already sick
Avoid contact with animals while traveling
Get a flu vaccine
Take everyday precautions to stop the spread of germs
Take flu antivirals if prescribed
Note: Older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
CDC COVID-19 webpage
WHO COVID-19 webpage
Should I travel to Washington, DC?
The health and safety of visitors to Washington, DC is Destination DC's top priority. The organization is committed to providing travelers with up-to-date information about traveling to the city. Destination DC recommends travelers follow the latest information from the CDC, noting its protective tips (above) and higher risks for older individuals and those with preexisting health conditions, and stay current on the latest updates from the DC government.
How has the District of Columbia government taken steps to address coronavirus?
Muriel E. Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia, signed a Mayor’s Order outlining the District’s monitoring, preparation and response. DC Health and the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency are leading the response. The organization created a new website featuring the latest DC government coronavirus information. The city announced Phase Two reopening for Monday, June 22. To understand when DC is ready to move between stages, DC Health is monitoring level of community spread (e.g., low transmission rate), healthcare system capacity (e.g., sufficient healthcare capacity without surge), testing capacity (e.g., ability to test all priority groups) and public health system capacity (e.g., sufficient contact tracing capacity for all new cases and their close contacts). If travelers exhibit symptoms and are concerned that they might have coronavirus while in Washington, DC, please call DC Health’s hotline at 844-493-2652.
What is Destination DC doing to prepare visitors and the hospitality community for coronavirus?
Destination DC is working daily in coordination with industry partners including the U.S. Travel Association, Events DC, the Hotel Association of Washington, DC, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and local officials in line with guidance from the CDC to communicate current information and best practices.
Have any museums, monuments, attractions or venues closed or have major festivals and events been canceled?
Please find status updates on what's open and what's been closed or canceled in and around Washington, DC. We urge visitors to confirm the status of upcoming events and major attractions before making plans to visit.
National Mall and Memorial Parks grounds remain open. The National Park Service (NPS) Office of Public Health and the U.S. Public Health Service officers assigned to the NPS are closely monitoring the situation and keeping park staffs informed, relying on the most updated data and information from the CDC. Museums and galleries may reopen with limited capacity of up to 50 people in enclosed rooms or exhibit spaces (detailed guidance: Museums and Exhibits). Tours are allowed with physical distancing.
How are DC-area restaurants impacted?
Eateries are allowed to serve diners outdoors, with tables six feet apart and groups of no larger than six. Many DC-area restaurants have begun converting outdoor spaces to accommodate the new standards. Starting June 22, restaurants may serve diners indoors at 50 percent capacity. Diners are encouraged to wear face coverings when not eating and to avoid going out if feeling sick. Check with individual restaurants to ensure they have outdoor or available indoor dining space before going out to eat. Note that diners will be asked to provide their name, contact info and time of arrival to keep dining records that will be saved for at least 30 days. Takeout and delivery service remains a safe dining option.
The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is in constant conversation with relevant government agencies, lodging and hospitality partners and the National Restaurant Association to ensure the organization and the local dining community has the most up to date information. Read more from RAMW here.
How is Metro affected and how is it ensuring safety for its riders?
Metro has released preliminary details of a phased recovery plan, ramping up service ahead of demand based on the reopening stage. Face masks are required. View Metro’s COVID-19 status updates here. Find additional local transportation information at goDCgo.
Metro has announced service adjustments for Metrorail and Metrobus to accommodate the expanded security perimeter that will be in effect for Inauguration beginning Friday, Jan. 15 through Thursday, Jan. 21.
Metro will close 13 stations inside the security perimeter, with 11 stations closing on Jan. 15 and two additional stations on Jan. 16 and continuing through the end of service on Jan. 21. During this time trains will pass through the closed stations without stopping.
Beginning on Jan. 15 and continuing for six days, trains will operate on a Saturday schedule (every 12 minutes on the Red Line/15 minutes on all other lines), bypassing all closed stations while residents are urged by local officials to stay out of the downtown area.
In addition, 26 bus routes will be detoured around the expanded security perimeter beginning on Jan. 15 through 21. Metrobus will operate normal service on weekdays and weekends to accommodate customers making trips outside the zone, with the exception of Jan. 20, when buses will operate on a Saturday schedule.
What are airports doing to address the COVID-19 pandemic?
Reagan National and Dulles International airports remain in close coordination with federal partners at the CDC, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, TSA and state and local health departments and emergency management agencies in preparedness activities. Beginning May 29, face coverings are required at Reagan National and Dulles International airports. Read more from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
What are hotels doing to ensure guest safety?
Regional hotels are implementing proactive strategies, following CDC guidelines and monitoring the information from local government agencies as they manage this issue with the wellbeing of hotel guests being of paramount concern. Find a list of hotels that are currently open.
What is the status of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center?
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has been prepared to be used as a temporary alternate care site to help alleviate strain on DC’s hospital system on a month-to-month basis. In coordination with Mayor Bowser’s office, HSEMA, DC Health and Events DC, the Army Corp of Engineers oversaw the construction. Mayor Bowser has stressed that the goal is to be ready, but to not have to use the Center in this way. Read Events DC news updates.
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