Arlington National Cemetery is reopening in a limited capacity to the public, after being largely shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Sept. 9, Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon for gravesite visitations. Sites including the John F. Kennedy gravesite remain closed, as are the Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier amid major renovations.
Likewise, exhibits at the Welcome Center are off limits, while the Women in Military Service for America Memorial is available only for scheduled events.
“As conditions in the National Capital Region have continued to improve, our goal is to provide increased access for the public to visit a loved one’s gravesite,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery, said in a statement. “We hope this limited reopening will better accommodate our visitors.”
Since March, family pass holders have been the only ones permitted access for visitation only in order to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19 and the cemetery was only open to families of those buried there during Memorial Day weekend in May.
Family pass holder access will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to visit their loved one’s gravesite.
Visitors must wear face coverings while at the cemetery and practice social distancing. Tour buses and school groups are still barred from the cemetery, and temporary passes will not be distributed.
“Arlington National Cemetery staff will be monitoring all aspects of the cemetery in order to prepare for a full opening in the near future,” Charles “Ray” Alexander Jr., superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, said in a statement.
“We are conducting internal assessments of the care and protection of our visitors,” Alexander said. “We will evaluate our standard operating procedures and efficiencies to ensure the outstanding visitor experience and high standards people expect when coming to the cemetery.”
Arlington National Cemetery has been a national cemetery since 1864 and is the resting spot of approximately 400,000 veterans and eligible dependents.