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.
Libraries are open for limited pick-up services.
DC Travel Requirements
The District Government issued updated travel requirements, effective March 3, 2021, for anyone traveling into Washington, DC. The testing requirement is waived if an individual has been fully vaccinated within 90 days and does not have COVID-19 symptoms. The requirement is also waived for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days and don't have symptoms. Private institutions and local government officials may ask for proof of a negative test. It is recommended to travel with your vaccination card with you in case documentation is required.
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 visiting DC for more than 3 days, you must limit activities until a second test is
obtained 3-5 days after your arrival and returns negative
Adhere to the mandatory mask policy, exceptions include vigorous exercise or while actively eating or drinking
Exceptions to the travel requirements:
Visitors from Maryland, Virginia, North Dakota and Hawaii
People coming to DC for essential work may carry out those duties prior to receiving the results of their COVID-19 test unless otherwise indicated by their employer. They must limit activities when they are not at work until the 10-day period is over or they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
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 10 days upon their return OR limit daily activities and get tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days of returning to DC. If experiencing symptoms, isolate at home until the test results return.
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 25 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, but masks are required.
Theaters/Cinemas/Entertainment Centers – These venues are closed.
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. Customers must not use taxis or ridesharing services 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.
Please note that the National Park Service has implemented a mask requirement across all parks and federal buildings. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks and historic homes. Additional public health measures are in place across the service, from capacity limits to one-way trails, or even temporary closures in response to local conditions. Visitors should check individual park websites and social media channels for details on operations before they visit. Park rangers are on duty to provide information, protect visitors and park resources, and uphold this requirement. Other tips to recreate responsibly are available on NPS.gov.
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.
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. 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 250 people in enclosed rooms or exhibit spaces (Museums and Exhibits). Tours are not allowed.
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. Restaurants may serve diners indoors at 25 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.
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. 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 is one of three new high-capacity vaccination sites opening on March 6 to administer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Appointments must be booked through vaccinate.dc.gov and the call center. Read more Events DC news updates.
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