By Tristan Jung
After being closed for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arlington National Cemetery has announced a limited reopening for visitors. This will allow veterans and families to have gravesite visitations and pay their respects.
The hallowed grounds will open on Wednesday, September 9 for gravesite visitations only. However, according to the official ANC press release announcing the reopening, the John F. Kennedy gravesite, Memorial Amphitheatre, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will remain closed.
Face coverings will be mandatory for visitors and social distancing is expected. Arlington National Cemetery will be open from 8 a.m. to noon. Family Pass Holders and funeral attendees may remain in the cemetery until 5 p.m.
“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…We hope this limited reopening will better accommodate our visitors.”
— Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery.
The exhibits at the Welcome Center and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial are also still closed to the public. Visitors will still need to proceed through the Welcome Center for screening. The cemetery staff is still gauging the best time to fully reopen given the danger of the pandemic.
Arlington National Cemetery had been closed to the public since March. Normally, over 3 million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year.