Smithsonian to require masks indoors once again as COVID-19 delta variant spreads

The Smithsonian will require all visitors ages two and older to wear face masks in its museums and indoor spaces regardless of their vaccination status.

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The policy change will begin Friday, July 30. It reflects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new face-covering guidelines, which recommend masks in indoor settings in areas where COVID-19 is more rapidly spreading in part due to the more contagious delta variant. Washington, D.C. is currently classified as being at moderate risk.


The Smithsonian, which began a gradual reopening of its museums in May, stopped requiring masks indoors for fully vaccinated visitors on June 28.

The new mask mandate does not apply to fully vaccinated visitors in outdoor areas of the National Zoo and the Smithsonian's outdoor gardens. However, all zoo visitors must wear masks indoors, including in restrooms.