Phase 2: Reopenings for Washington’s Arts and Entertainment District

Image Courtesy of Washington.Org

By Katie Van Lew

On Monday, June 22, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. announced that Phase 2 of the COVID-19 safety procedures had been initiated. Since the start of the pandemic’s rampage throughout the District, 10,000 residents of the nation’s capital have tested positive for COVID-19. Bowser announced her decision to enter Phase 2 following a 15-consecutive-day decrease in new positive cases of the virus. After months of being confined to the home, Bowser’s announcement revives the arts and entertainment industry in the District.

To lessen the spread of the virus, many museums are requiring visitors to purchase tickets online before admittance. While visiting the museums, visitors are expected to wear face masks as well as maintain the social distancing guidelines. Many museums, such as the International Spy Museum and the Glenstone Museum are open to the public, as long as safety procedures are being implemented and followed by visitors. The ARTECHOUSE, a digital art exhibition will reopen on July 9 to those who buy tickets and reserve a time slot to attend. 

Many visitors flocked to Washington, D.C. during the summer to relish in the beauty of the U.S. National Arboretum. The Arboretum, which is famous for its azalea blossoms, lavish gardens, and landscapes, is dedicated to showcasing diverse arrays of horticulture and has reopened on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Despite the gardens reopening, the buildings and museums on the arboretum grounds, such as the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, will remain closed. Visitors are encouraged to sanitize their hands and avoid large gatherings while visiting the gardens.

The National Gallery of Art has announced that it will be reopening the Sculpture Garden for those who wish to visit for an escape. Although the garden will remain open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the East and West buildings will remain closed. The Sculpture Garden adheres to social distancing guidelines as well as the use of face masks to ensure that all guests are enjoying a healthy and safe experience. Although the buildings are closed to the public, picnics are permitted on the garden grounds. Instead of being confined to the apartment, the sculpture garden provides a safe space for visitors to eat and enjoy a fresh change of scenery.

Many museums, such as the Smithsonian museums and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, will remain closed. Venues such as the 9:30 Club and the Anthem that host thousands of guests unwinding to their favorite musicians, will remain closed to adhere to Phase 2 guidelines.  

The Phase 2 guidelines instituted in Washington, D.C. are a small but promising start to revitalizing the popular attractions that D.C. is recognized for. Although summer visitors may be deterred from the reopening of art exhibits, gardens, and museums, the limited capacity of people and the ample space provided allows visitors to enjoy their own experience while maintaining a safe distance from others. The attractions that reopen will be heavily sanitized throughout the hours of operation to ensure the safety of all those who need to take a break from the pandemic at hand.

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