The Washington Monument will reopen to the public on October 1 after a six-month closure due to COVID-19.
The National Parks Service announced that the public will be able to access the monument seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tickets available online beginning September 30. There will be new cleaning and safety measures in place to protect staff and visitors from the spread of infectious diseases. For instance, tickets will be available online only, to discourage ticket queuing.
The Washington Monument was closed for years after an earthquake in 2011 caused significant damage to the structure. It had only been open since September 2019 when COVID-19 struck and shuttered it again. According to the Interior Department, the Washington Monument was one of the last remaining National Parks Service entities that was still closed because of the virus.
Now, the monument will have touchless check-in and touchless hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the monument, the Parks Service said in a press release.
Its elevator capacity will be reduced, allowing to four to eight passengers at a time to enable social distancing measures, and visitors will be required to wear a face covering for the duration of their visit. There will also be a time limit of 10 minutes for each group at the observation level. Every day, the monument will also close from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. to allow for a thorough disinfectant cleaning.
Tickets, available at recreation.gov, can be obtained each day at 10 a.m. for the next day's tours. A non-refundable reservation fee of $1.50 per ticket will be charged, and each ticket admits up to four people.
Standing 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument is one of Washington, D.C.'s most visible landmarks, the highest point in the city. The monument was completed in 1884.
"The monument is a tribute to our greatest founding father and was constructed with great deliberation and fanfare," Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement Monday. "Hand carved memorial stones line the interior of the Monument from states, fraternal and community organizations, various municipalities and foreign nations – a testament to the devotion our country had for this great President."
It's among the many D.C. landmarks that have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19. The city's museums and other favorite tourist spots have also been shuttered, though the Smithsonian has begun to open Washington, D.C., museums in phases, albeit with safety precautions in place.
The city, usually lively with government workers, business workers and tourists, has largely emptied out downtown, with many workers operating from home and few visitors compared to normal years.
— CBS News' Kathryn Watson and Arden Farhi contributed to this post
First published on September 28, 2020 / 2:00 PM
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