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Traveling to Washington, D.C. During COVID-19

Washington D.C. is a bustling city full of culture and history. The number of significant landmarks, incredible museums, and beautiful outdoor spaces to check out will keep you busy for days. So, when can you travel to Washington, D.C.? Right now! D.C. is open for business, despite the impact COVID-19 and related restrictions.

Here are a few things to know before traveling to D.C. during COVID-19.

What are Washington, D.C.’s COVID-19 Restrictions

Like most other areas of the country, you’ll need to wear a face covering and practice social distancing if you are traveling to D.C. during COVID-19. A cloth face covering is also required outside if a person is unable to maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others.

Washington, D.C. has a detailed, phased recovery plan. Guidelines for each phase will vary, so before you schedule your trip, visit D.C’s COVID-19 website to learn about the current regulations in place.

Evening view of airport control tower - The Hotel UMD

Arriving at Reagan and Dulles Airports

The airport staff at both Ronald Reagan Washington National (Reagan – DCA) and Washington Dulles International (Dulles – IAD) Airports are taking health and safety measures to help you fly with confidence. Increased cleaning and sanitization efforts are taking place daily. All airport employees and patrons are required to wear face coverings, and social distancing protocols are enforced.


When passing through security, you will be asked to adjust your mask for ID verification, but otherwise you’ll keep it on as you move through the TSA checkpoints. Additionally, TSA is currently accepting state-issued identification which expired after March 1, 2020. Expired IDs will be accepted for up to one year past their expiration date.


Both airports have adjusted accessibility of their parking facilities. Many of the terminal garages are available at economy rates, as several of the economy lots have been closed. Visit the parking and transportation information pages for Dulles and Reagan for up-to-date details prior to your flight.


Reagan and Dulles both have designated COVID-19 webpages, which can be accessed prior to your flight for-up-to date details. The pages include details on everything from parking, to ground transport, to social distancing protocols. Additionally, most major airlines have COVID-related pages on their websites, which provide details on specific regulations and requirements.

Are Restaurants Open?

Washington D.C. is home to a seemingly infinite number of delicious dining options. The great news is that most are open in some fashion. Specifics will vary based on the restaurant and regulations at the time of your visit.

Restaurants are currently operating at a portion of usual capacity for indoor dining and are limiting the number of guests per party. Many locations have added outdoor dining options to provide additional seating for patrons. Regardless of which restaurant you want to check out, it’s a good idea to call ahead for a reservation, as capacity limits mean some establishments are filling up quickly.

View of the Washington Monument near our hotel in the DC Area

Museums and Exhibits

Museums, galleries, and exhibits abound. Would you expect anything less? After all, this is Washington D.C.! Open to the public again, these attractions are a huge draw for out-of-town guests. In fact, for many they are the sole reason for their trip to our Nation’s Capital. Based on the requirements set forth in D.C.’s phased recovery plan, each open attraction is operating within a set of limitations.

Ford’s Theater reopened on October 14th with modified hours. Ticket releases are on Fridays at 10:00 AM for the following week. For more information visit the Ford’s Theatre website.

The Smithsonian Institute (including all of its museums, the Renwick Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery) have reopened with new safety protocols and revised hours. Timed-entry passes are required for each guest to minimize the number of patrons inside the buildings at any given time. For details on each museum as well as up to date information, visit the Smithsonian’s Website.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum opened on October 26th, and like the Smithsonian, requires timed passes for entry during their revised hours. The museum’s website provides details on how to obtain a pass as well as additional safety protocols in place.

Of course, this just scratches the surface of the attractions you’ll find when traveling to D.C. during COVID-19 or any other time. A comprehensive list of the attractions, as well as up to date COVID-related restrictions and guidelines for each, can be found here.

Metro station white architecture with light up boards near our hotel at UMD College Park

Metro and Transportation

As of August 2020, almost all Metro service and approximately 75% of Metrobus service has been restored. Face coverings are required while utilizing public transportation of any kind, and patrons are asked to socially distance as much as possible while riding.

Metrobus is enforcing several COVID-19 safety precautions, including the requirement that all passengers board via the rear of the bus. Fares will be waived while this restriction is in place.

It is important to note that services and schedules may change at any time during D.C.’s phased recovery. For this reason, printed timetables are not available. Passengers are encouraged to visit the Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority’s website for up to date information prior to travel.


Non-essential retail businesses have been allowed to open with limited capacity for indoor shopping. These businesses must arrange shopping areas to ensure guests can maintain six feet of space between themselves and others. Phase two of Washington D.C.’s recovery plan also allowed the reopening of salons (tanning, hair, nails, facial, etc.), requiring one client per employee and social distancing. Of course, face coverings must be used.


Regional hotels are implementing proactive strategies to effectively operate during the pandemic. You’ll find safeguards such as contactless check-in and check-out options, social distancing markers, and face mask requirements.

The Hotel at The University of Maryland, located in College Park, has a long and proud reputation of caring for its guests and team members. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, The Hotel’s commitment to safety and well-being has been expanded by adopting the Ever Strong program.

Ever Strong is a comprehensive cleaning and sanitization program, which provides structured guidance and enhanced best practices to navigate our “new normal”. The program encompasses important enhancements made to operations and changes to services in response to the pandemic. Its multipronged approach is built on four key pillars to meet the new health and safety challenges: physical distancing and face coverings, cleanliness, active monitoring, and rapid response.

Where to Stay in Washington, D.C. During COVID-19

It’s no secret that life is different and perhaps a little more stressful these days. Traveling to D.C. during COVID-19 could be just what you need to take a break from it all. Relax and recharge in our luxurious guest rooms before heading out to your socially-distanced D.C. adventures. Book your trip today and experience all the Nation’s Capital and The Hotel and University of Maryland have to offer.


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