Mask Guidance

All employees, contractors, family pass holders and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks while indoors at ANC.

 
Published on Thursday, July 29, 2021

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Limited Reopening to the Public

3/9/2021

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) will reopen the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier plaza to the visiting public today, March 9, 2021. ANC is taking this action as part of a gradual reopening under improved COVID-19 conditions. Reopening the Tomb plaza to the public, while continuing to maintain current health protection conditions, is an important element of the yearlong centennial commemoration for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which culminates on Veterans Day 2021.

For the past 11 months, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been closed to visitors due to both ongoing preservation work and COVID-19 restrictions. Now, we are pleased to announce the limited public reopening of this hallowed site. ANC staff continues to monitor and enhance all aspects of the cemetery in order to prepare for a full opening in the near future. This next step expands access to ANC, building upon previous efforts such as the resumption of tram tours and graveside shuttle service, visitation to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Gravesite, and a limited reopening of the ANC Welcome Center.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier visitors will now be able to watch the changing of the guard and to pay their respects to the Unknowns. A one-way pedestrian route will begin at Memorial Drive (near the west steps of Memorial Amphitheater) and will guide visitors to the south walkway for entrance. Only 150 visitors will be allowed on the plaza stairs at any one time, in order to facilitate social distancing. Visitors will exit to the north side of Memorial Amphitheater.

Click here for a map of the map of the pedestrian route

ANC will provide directional signage, and staff will be on site to assist with directions. In accordance with cemetery policy, all visitors must wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

The care and protection of our visitors remains paramount. We will continue to make risk- and conditions-based decisions in order to protect our workforce and the visiting public while ensuring a world-class visitor experience at Arlington National Cemetery.

Under ANC’s restricted operations, large groups and bus tours continue to be prohibited from accessing the cemetery. The exhibits in the Memorial Amphitheater Display Room and Welcome Center remain closed to the public. Additionally, the Amphitheater remains closed to the public due to ongoing restoration work. Public wreath ceremonies at the Tomb will remain suspended until health protection conditions improve. 

The public may also visit the cemetery virtually through the new ANC Education Program at https://education.arlingtoncemetery.mil/. Audiences of all ages may now discover learning modules on topics that include The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Why was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier closed to the public? 

AThe Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Memorial Amphitheater have been closed due to ongoing preservation work and COVID-19 restrictions.

Q. How long was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier closed to the public? 

AThe Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been closed to the public for the past 11 months. With improving conditions, ANC is reopening the Tomb to the public on a limited basis.

Q. Why is it a limited reopening?

AThe limited reopening of the Tomb plaza will allow public access while maintaining social distancing procedures. We will continue to make risk- and conditions-based decisions in order to protect our workforce and the visiting public, while ensuring an outstanding visitor experience at Arlington National Cemetery.  

Q. What do I need to do in order to see the changing of the guard? 

AAt the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visitors are able to watch the changing of the guard and pay their respects to the Unknowns. A one-way pedestrian route begins at Memorial Drive (near the west steps of Memorial Amphitheater) and will guide visitors to the south walkway for entrance. A limited number of visitors will be allowed on the plaza stairs at one time. Visitors will exit to the north side of Memorial Amphitheater. Please follow the directional signage, and staff will be on site to assist with directions. Click here for a map of the map of the pedestrian route

Q. During what hours will the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier be open to the public? 

A. The public may visit the Tomb during Arlington National Cemetery’s regular operating hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Q. How frequently is there a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

A. The military guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier conducts an elaborate ceremony once every hour between October 1 and March 31. From April 1 through September 30, the changing of the guard ceremony takes place every half hour.

Q. What restrictions remain at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? 

A. All visitors to Arlington National Cemetery must wear face coverings at all times while on cemetery grounds. At the Tomb, only 150 visitors will be allowed on the plaza stairs at any one time, in order to facilitate social distancing.

Q. What is Arlington National Cemetery's face covering policy? 

A. During entry screening, everyone entering the cemetery is required to provide proof of having a face covering in his or her possession. Visitors who do not have face coverings will not be allowed to enter the cemetery. Visitors must wear their face coverings at all times while in the cemetery.

Q. Arlington National Cemetery is an outdoor facility and has the space to allow for social distancing. Why are masks still required? 

A. President Biden signed an executive order on January 20, 2021 requiring all federal employees, contractors and members of the public to wear a mask while inside executive branch buildings or on federal lands. ANC requires face coverings in compliance with this executive order and for the protection of our workforce, grieving families and visitors. We wish to ensure the health and safety of all of our visitors, service members and civilians so that we are ready to support the nation for whatever contingency arises.

Q. How many people can attend a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery? 

A. As of October 2020, up to 100 individuals are permitted at gravesite to attend a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.