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Travel Status Update
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 take place from Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 and last through Jan. 15, 2021:
- 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.
- Restaurants must stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. but may stay open until midnight.
- Restaurants may not have indoor dining. Outdoor dining and carry out/delivery may continue.
- Museums must close (staff and contractors may enter for minimum business operations).
- The District’s live entertainment pilot program is suspended.
- The National Mall DC Circulator bus route is suspended.
- Libraries must close 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 carry out/delivery. Restaurants may not have indoor dining as of Dec. 23, 2020. Read more.
Museums/Exhibits/Events – Museums will remain closed through Jan. 15, per the Mayor's order. 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.
Theaters/Cinemas/Entertainment Centers – These venues can 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 are limited to 25 percent capacity as specified on their Certificate of Occupancy or 250 people including staff, whichever is fewer. Phase Two allows for personal services to open including hair and nail salons, massage and spas by appointment only and with strong safeguards and physical distancing in place. Read more. Read more.
Transportation – Non-essential ridesharing in a taxi or rideshare vehicle is permitted, but if ill, unless it is absolutely necessary, do not use carpool options. Wear face coverings and socially distance as much as possible. Read more. Metro will restore most service to pre-COVID-19 levels beginning Aug. 16. Customers should socially distance and are required to wear face coverings when traveling Metro. The DC Circulator's National Mall route will be suspended from Dec. 23 through Jan. 15, 2021.
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
- Be aware of latest travel advisories from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State
- 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 travel notices
- DC government coronavirus website
- CDC COVID-19 webpage
- WHO COVID-19 webpage
- List of reopened DC businesses
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 are closed to the public.
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 December 23, restaurants may not have indoor dining. Check with individual restaurants to ensure they have outdoor 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. 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.