Starting on Friday, July 30, visitors will once again need to wear a mask when visiting the Smithsonian’s museums. Since late June, vaccinated patrons have been able to visit the cultural institutions sans face covering. However, in light of new guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all visitors over the age of two years old will need to mask up before checking out any indoor exhibits. Masks won’t be required at outdoor spaces such as the Zoo and the Smithsonian’s open-air gardens.
Earlier this week, the CDC released an updated recommendation on masks prompted by the spread of the Covid Delta variant. Per the new guidelines, the CDC advocates for wearing a mask indoors “if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” Currently, the CDC ranks DC as a place with “substantial” transmission. Plus, the cultural institution draws visitors from all over the country.
The Smithsonian’s change in policy comes after a month of incrementally relaxing Covid precautions. Just last week, the Smithsonian retired the time-entry pass system limiting crowds in the museums.