WASHINGTON (AP) — Public tours of the White House will return to a full operating schedule next month, after nearly a year and a half of disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Free tours of the executive mansion were suspended when President Joe Biden took office, as officials tightened virus protocols in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They resumed on a limited basis, being held only Friday and Saturday mornings, on April 15, and will return to their normal schedule from Tuesday through Saturday, excluding federal holidays, beginning on July 19.
The White House said Monday it will “continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation with guidance based on recommendations from the CDC, and other public health officials and medical experts, and reserves the right to adjust availability of the public tours as necessary to adhere to the latest health guidance.”
It added that, within 10 days prior to going on a tour, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, has had any virus symptoms, or been in close contact with someone who is suspected of having the virus “should stay home.”
Face masks will also be made available for visitors who want them, though use will be optional.
Tours had been canceled for months by then-President Donald Trump at the onset of the pandemic but resumed in September 2020 as he tried to project normalcy, prompting a new suspension when the Biden administration began.
Other White House events, including the Easter Egg Roll in April, have resumed this year after a two-year hiatus.