Mayor Muriel Bowser is closing the National Mall and the Tidal Basin to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a press release Sunday.
Bowser announced that the National Mall will be closed to pedestrians and bicycles traveling between Independence and Constitution avenues and 14th and 23rd streets, the release states. The area includes the World War II, the Vietnam Veterans, the Korean War Veterans and the Jefferson memorials.
“As the District continues working to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mayor Muriel Bowser is extending road closures and taking additional measures to restrict access to the Tidal Basin,” the release states.
Senior and Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner James Harnett, ANC Chair Patrick Kennedy and Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen collectively penned a letter to National Parks Service officials Sunday calling for the two areas to be closed. Harnett tweeted two days prior that people should avoid visiting the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin because people cannot practice social distancing.
The letter states that the large gatherings of people to see the cherry blossoms this weekend was “extremely concerning,” especially after Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery Metro stations closed to deter people from visiting the Mall. The National Parks Service should close the National Mall and the Tidal Basin for the remainder of the pandemic, the letter states.
“Staying six feet away from other people in the existing environment along the Tidal Basin, given the crowds we have seen in the past 24 hours, is simply not possible,” the letter states.