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What does tourism in D.C. look like now?

As D.C.’s famous cherry blossom blooms peaked this spring, coronavirus shut down the city for locals and tourists. Now, after months of lockdown and more than 600 deaths reported in the city, D.C. is beginning to reopen, and visitors are trickling back.

With many of D.C.’s marquee points of interest still closed, a trip to the nation’s capital won’t be the same as one before the pandemic. But some say that’s not a reason to defer a visit (for healthy individuals who follow proper pandemic precautions).

“To tell you the truth, I do think it’s a good time [to visit],” says Austin Graff, who wrote By The Way’s City Guide to D.C.

Graff says that with a fraction of the tourists around, some of the city’s best monuments are even more enjoyable. And with fewer businesses open, he’s also felt encouraged to explore parts of town he had previously overlooked.

Visitors maintain social distance at the National Zoo’s panda habitat in D.C. on July 24. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Visiting town during the pandemic does come with restrictions. On July 27, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser issued an order requiring people traveling to D.C. for nonessential activities to self-quarantine for 14 days if they’re coming from a high-risk state.

Those who are unsure about their coronavirus status or who don’t feel well should stay home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading covid-19.”

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