After closing to the public in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House will reopen to limited tours on Sept. 12, with social distancing and masks required, the office of first lady Melania Trump announced in a statement on Tuesday.
Capacity will be limited to 18 percent of the normal guest limit, and tours will take place only two days per week — instead of the usual five — on Fridays and Saturdays, between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.
“In order to ensure the safety and health of all visitors, there have been new policies implemented that align with the guidance issued by Federal, State, and local officials,” the first lady’s office said in the statement.
All visitors “ages 2 years and over” will be required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing, and hand sanitizer will be provided. Floor markers at check-in areas will help guests stay apart. The staffs of the National Park Service, Secret Service and White House Visitors Office will wear masks and gloves and aid with social distancing on site and along the tour route.
White House tours require an extensive application and vetting process, with requests submitted through the visitor’s member of Congress. Requests to join a tour are accepted between three months and 21 days before the tour date, according to the White House’s website.
“Guests who receive a confirmed tour reservation will be issued a White House Boarding Pass ahead of their tour date containing pertinent health and safety guidance,” the website states. Tours are self-guided and take about 45 minutes to complete.
Before the March closure, White House tours occurred Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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