The Capitol is entering the second phase of its reopening plan next week after the House sergeant-at-arms declared the coronavirus pandemic had abated enough to allow more outside tour groups.
The guidelines will begin next week on May 30, according to a Monday announcement from Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker. The first phase began in March shortly after Capitol authorities lifted the mask mandate.
CAPITOL INCHES CLOSER TO REOPENING TO PUBLIC AFTER TWO YEARS OF PANDEMIC CLOSURE
The second phase mainly features "an extension of reserved tour time and the reopening of the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) for tour access," and guide and staff-led tours will be available for an additional two hours each weekday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The cafeteria and gift shop will also reopen, as well as tours of the old Senate chamber. The public will be able to reserve tours directly online beginning May 25.
The Sergeant At Arms informs the House that the Capitol Visitors Center will reopen for public tours of the Capitol next week: pic.twitter.com/7qrODhA8u4— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) May 23, 2022
Tour groups are still limited to a maximum of 15 guests for tours led by staff and 50 guests for professionally guided tours.
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"We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we work collaboratively to resume public tours of the for the American people in a manner that protects the health and safety of staff and visitors alike," the letter to staff concluded.
Under the first phase that began at the end of March, tours were limited to the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Capitol was closed to the public out of concern for the pandemic in March 2020.