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National Park Service Places “Practice Social Distancing” Signs Around Tidal Basin

A cherry blossom scene on Tuesday. Photograph by Evy Mages
Coronavirus 2020

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The National Park Service plans to place placards around the Tidal Basin warning visitors to Washington’s famous cherry blossom trees about the dangers of coronavirus during peak bloom, which is now expected to occur as soon as Saturday. “Although the park is not closed, we encourage all visitors, particularly the most vulnerable, including the elderly and people with underlying conditions, to make smart decisions and to follow CDC guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” NPS spokesperson Mike Litterst tells Washingtonian.

Among the recommendations: Practice social distancing! Wash your hands. And don’t visit if you’re sick.

As Washingtonian has reported in less eventful years, there are ways to see the trees with minimal crowd exposure. Go very early in the morning, or go when it’s raining. Or see cherry blossoms elsewhere, like the National Arboretum, where the grounds are still open from 8 AM-5 PM. Oxon Run Park,  Anacostia Park, and Stanton Park all have gorgeous copses, and they’re usually a lot less crowded than the Tidal Basin.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.