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Arlington National Cemetery relaxes COVID restrictions ahead of Memorial Day

Masks are no longer required outdoors at the cemetery, if you are fully vaccinated, officials said.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington National Cemetery has rolled back some of its COVID-19 restrictions in place since last year, in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Just in time for Memorial Day, here are some of the new protocols in place:

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President John F. Kennedy’s Gravesite will now be fully opened with freely moving traffic patterns.

  • The Memorial Amphitheater  and Welcome Center exhibits are now open (Face masks are required for indoor venues)
  • At this time, the Memorial Amphitheater bowl still remains closed for restoration.
  • Guests who visit any inside facility are required to wear a face covering.
  • Masks are no longer required when outdoors.
  • The Welcome Center Bookstore will resume indoor operations on May 27, 2021.

“Over the last year, it was important we continued to uphold Arlington’s sacred mission of laying our Nation’s veterans to rest. We are very happy families and visitors are able to have a full visitor’s experience to Honor, Remember, and Explore.  Additionally, everyone will now be able to participate in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration programs in person, as they visit the exhibits in the Welcome Center and Memorial Amphitheater Display Room and the special programs offered by our Historians,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of the Office of Army National Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery in a release.

Virtual visitation remains available through the new ANC Education Program, here.

More information about Arlington National Cemetery's COVID procedures can be found at the cemetery's website.

In addition to Arlington National Cemetery,  Veterans Affairs national cemeteries will allow mass flag placements across the U.S. to commemorate Memorial Day. 

“Memorial Day is a sacred day where we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said. “We can never forget these heroes nor the families who continue to grieve the loss of their mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother who stood in the gap for each of us to maintain the very democracy that we are able to treasure every day.” 

McDonough will preside over the wreath laying at Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia on Friday, May 28.

All 155 VA national cemeteries will be open Memorial Day weekend from dawn to dusk. Cemeteries with full staffs will also hold brief wreath-laying ceremonies followed by a moment of silence and taps over Memorial Day weekend, but these will not be open to the public, the Veterans Affairs Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs said in a release.

Volunteers wishing to place flags for the holiday should contact their local national cemetery.

Last year, many Memorial Day ceremonies across the country were forced to go virtual because of the ongoing pandemic.

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