Smithsonian museums in DC to reopen starting in May
The Smithsonian will reopen eight of its facilities to the public in May, starting with the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Wednesday, May 5. Additional museums and the National Zoo will open Friday, May 14, and Friday, May 21.
All locations will reopen with added health and safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors will need to reserve free timed-entry passes for all locations. All other Smithsonian museums will remain temporarily closed to the public.
Wednesday, May 5 Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Friday, May 14 National Museum of African American History and Culture
National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery
Friday, May 21 National Museum of American History
National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C., location)
To protect the health of visitors and staff, safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources will include:
- Requesting that all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home.
- Requiring visitors ages 2 and older to wear face coverings during their visit.
- Closely monitoring and limiting the number of people in each location. Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass in advance of their visit.
- Implementing safe social distancing, including one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate.
- Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning throughout all facilities.
- Museum cafes will not be open at this time. Restaurants and food trucks at the National Zoo will be open.
All on-site public tours and events are temporarily suspended. Some exhibits, galleries, interactives, theaters, retail shops or indoor spaces may be closed or operating at limited capacity. Detailed information for visitors is available on the museum websites.
Museum Hours and Information
Some locations will open with reduced hours of operation.
- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: open daily 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, both located at Eighth and G streets N.W.: open Wednesday to Sunday 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Visitors will use the G Street entrance.
- Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, near the White House: open Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
- National Museum of American History: open Friday to Tuesday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
- National Museum of the American Indian: open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
- National Zoo: open daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Visitors will need to obtain a free timed-entry pass for each location. Beginning today, April 23, visitors can reserve passes for the Udvar-Hazy Center. Passes for other locations will become available starting a week before their scheduled openings. Visitors driving to the Zoo who wish to park must purchase parking in advance as well. Visitors can reserve passes online at si.edu/visit or by phone at 1-800-514-3849, ext. 1.
An individual will be able to reserve up to six passes per day for a specific location. Each visitor must have a pass, regardless of age. Visitors can choose to print timed-entry passes at home or show a digital timed-entry pass on their mobile device. For the safety of visitors and staff, groups larger than six are strictly prohibited, and at least one adult chaperone is required to accompany up to five children under the age of 18.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
May 5 also marks the 60th anniversary of the first U.S. human spaceflight by Alan Shepard. His Mercury capsule, Freedom 7, will be on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center, its first time there, for the anniversary and through most of this spring and summer. Visitors can pay for parking as they depart.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Viewing of the Zoo’s newest panda cub, Xiao Qi Ji, will be limited for social distancing purposes and will require a separate free timed-entry pass. Visitors can obtain a free pass for Asia Trail / Giant Pandas when they arrive at the Zoo. Passes will be released throughout the day. As a reminder for the public, Xiao Qi Ji is still young and sleeps a lot during the day. Xiao Qi Ji along with his parents can be viewed on the Zoo’s live panda cams.
Reopening the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian closed its museums in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between July and October 2020, the Smithsonian opened eight of its facilities before closing to the public again Nov. 23. The reopening of these eight locations is the beginning of a phased reopening process for the Institution. All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed to the public, and the Institution is not announcing additional reopening dates at this time. Updates and information about the museums open to the public are available at si.edu/visit.
CDC gives green light for vaccinated people to travel
The Centers for Disease Control has (finally!) released guidance for Americans ready to travel again after the COVID-19 pandemic. Fully vaccinated travelers are now considered low-risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. The guidelines are only for domestic travel. See the CDC for more information.Updated Information for Travelers Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States:Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:Wear a mask over your nose and mouth Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
How badly do you want to travel? 38% would give up sex.
Read the full press release below: DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY – February 17, 2021 – After a year that changed everything, it’s clear that modern travel has been profoundly altered, perhaps forever. As the vaccine rollout continues and restrictions begin to lift in parts of the globe, eager travelers everywhere wait patiently for the clear signal to be able to getaway and adventure once again. Global accommodations search platform trivago recently conducted a survey to see how consumers are planning, dreaming and considering travel in 2021. The consumer omnibus survey, conducted from Jan. 3-9, polled more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. and U.K. The results reveal significant desires to travel, including what consumers would give up, what they’d like to do and where they’d like to go, as well as why they’d like to get back on the road. We’d Give Up A Lot to Travel Again Thinking about their first trip after the pandemic, majorities say it makes them feel “excited” (US, 56%; UK, 54%) and/or “happy” (US, 53%; UK, 52%). In fact, we’re so desperate to travel, 25% of both Britons and Americans say they’d give up all their savings to do it now, and around two-fifths (US, 38%; UK, 40%) say they’d give up sex for a year to get on the road right away. One in five said they would give up their partner to travel now, and even more telling, nearly half would give up their job (US, 48%; UK, 41%). It’s clear that travel plays a massive role in our lives and overall happiness. 2020 Made Us Focus on Self-Care, But How Does Travel Fit In? More than 80% of those surveyed somewhat or strongly agree that travel is a part of a well-rounded life. The concept of travel as a form of selfcare/wellness and to expand one’s perspective is one that continues to grow. In both countries substantial majorities say that being prevented from traveling freely is one of the worst aspects of the pandemic (US, 81%; UK, 82%) and that because of the pandemic this is the most they’ve ever felt like traveling (US, 58%; UK, 61%). Increasingly, we see emotional wellbeing as another driver for travel and the need to get away. When they do travel, respondents appear likely to incorporate new interests – more than half (US, 57%; UK, 56%) say they’ve picked up a new hobby since the start of the pandemic, with most who’ve done so expressing surprise at their newfound passion. The vast majority of those (US, 68%; UK, 64%) think it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll pick a vacation connected to the new hobby once the pandemic ends. Given all this, a travel boom post-pandemic appears likely as consumers strive to make up for lost time. The Definition of a Dream Vacation Has Changed The typical idea of a big trip or vacation – planned ahead and saved for – is becoming obsolete with travel restrictions and the ability to plan ahead all but impossible. In addition, the isolation and distance of lockdowns has changed the dynamic of dream vacations as we think of them. The #1 choice for Americans and Britons for their “dream vacation” was a chance to spend “time with the family and friends I’ve missed” (US, 26%; UK, 34%), with this particularly high with seniors in each country (US, 35%; UK, 47%). Overall, traveling again is inevitable. More than 4 in 5 of the respondents (US, 84%; UK, 87%) see travel as fundamental to a good life and two-thirds or more (US, 72%; UK, 66%) say they plan to travel even more than they have in the past once the pandemic ends. While you’re dreaming of that special trip, you don’t have to stay put. Local getaways, weekend road trips and “staycations” can be enjoyed safely with proper planning and precautions. trivago will soon offer a tool specific to inspiration and booking options for local trips, to get you back on the road nearby. To learn more, visit trivago.com.
Here's How President Biden's COVID-19 Plan Will Impact US Travel
[Updated 02 24 2021] Within his first few days as the 46th President of the United States of America, Joe Biden implemented a new set of state-side COVID-19 travel regulations. After rescinding the ban that prevented certain individuals from entering the United States, he continued rolling out executive orders related to tourism to create stricter COVID-19 regulations. As a part of his Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce, masks are now required in National Parks and at monuments, memorials, and historic sites that are a part of the federal lands. The executive order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel requires face masks on all modes of interstate transportation within the States, including flights, buses, ships, and trains as well as in airports. While U.S. airlines have already been requiring passengers to wear masks, this is the first time there’s been a federally mandated mask policy during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the early January policy requiring negative COVID-19 tests for arriving travelers, all passengers arriving into the United States will now be required to quarantine. The administration has stated that anyone coming into the United States by air, “will need to test before they get onto that plane before they depart and quarantine when they arrive in America.” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement that "we welcome the president’s focus on policies that will encourage safe travel and help restore the millions of U.S. travel jobs that were lost last year... and we also strongly support the president’s mask mandate for interstate travel, which is in line with the industry’s health and safety guidance.” The COVID-19 travel executive order went into effect on January 26th. However, the White House has yet to release a statement regarding the length of the mandatory quarantine period for incoming visitors. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the Coast Guard are all expected to provide recommendations on the quarantine length within the next week, in addition to a plan to handle fraudulent tests and entry for passengers arriving from countries where tests aren’t easily accessible. Some medical professionals support the comprehensive plan. For instance, Bob Bacheler, a critical care flight nurse said “President Biden’s policies are merely bringing the United States closer to the rest of the world’s standards. Every country I’ve entered has required had some form of COVID-19 testing. Some were as simple as a temperature check and a document indicating travel history (Mexico) to being met at the airport by people in full PPE and receiving a Covid test at the airport (Togo). When I’d return to the US, I’d pass through customs and never speak to anyone or have anyone ask where I had been.” Cherene Saradar, a travel blogger and a nurse anesthetist who has been working with COVID-19 patients, reflected a similar sentiment saying that she’d like to see stricter requirements for those traveling domestically. Lola Méndez is a sustainable travel advocate who writes the responsible lifestyle blog Miss Filatelista.
Hikers asked not to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail this year
Hikers hoping to spend 2021 hiking the Appalachian Trail are being asked to postpone their trips until 2022 by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Health officials say that the COVID-19 risk comes not from the hike itself, but the travel to and from trail points across the country. The ATC is actively discouraging long-distance hiking this year, and says it will not be distributing any AT Hangtags in 2021. Hangtags are plastic tags given to hikers that have registered their thru-hike with the ATC. Distribution of the hangtags helps the agency understand how many hikers are using the trail per year. Hangtags will not be distributed until the CDC has deemed the pandemic "under control," or a vaccine is more widely available to the general population. ATC President and CEO, Sandra Marra, told CNN that "we're really basing our guidance on the best information we have. The guidance is based on science, on the states and the federal outline as to how we can proceed until everyone is fully vaccinated." The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking footpath in the world, covering over 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine.