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US Capitol resumes limited tours 2 years after pandemic began

(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Capitol finally reopened its doors Monday after being closed for nearly two years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It will be a limited reopening that will involve member-led and staff-led tours of up to 15 people as well as school groups that have registered in advance, according to a statement from Maj. Gen. William Walker, the House sergeant-at-arms, and Dr. Brian Monahan, the Capitol’s attending physician.

Attestation of a daily negative health screening form is “recommended” for all visitors, as COVID-19 restrictions in Washington, D.C., and across the country are lifted.

“We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we work together to resume public tours of the Capitol for the American people in a way that protects the health and safety of visitors and institutional staff alike,” Walker and Monahan wrote in the statement.

Both officials said the choice to reestablish limited tours was coordinated with congressional leaders, the U.S. Capitol Police and the board that oversees that force, Capitol Visitor Services and the attending physician.

Reservations are required and must be made through a senator or representative’s office. The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center website still states that it is not accepting tour reservations.

This is the first phase of the planned reopening of the Capitol to visitors. The second phase is expected to commence at the end of May.

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