For the first time in nearly three years, the U.S. Capitol will open today for the general public and visitors will no longer need an escort. This is according to the House sergeant at arms. The public will be able to visit the House galleries with a pass received from a member’s office.
The Capitol closed to visitors in March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The Capitol Visitor Center, also closed during the pandemic, will fully reopen in March.
Staff-led tours of the Capitol will resume on Saturday but will be limited to the Hall of Columns, Crypt, Rotunda, and Statuary Hall. A phased reopening of the Capitol began last March with a limited number of tours. The Capitol Visitor Center partially reopened in May. In September, the final phase of reopening began. It included allowing House members to lead tours on the floor when the House is out of session. They can also conduct tours for constituents to the House Galleries when Congress is in session. The member of congress or a member of his or her staff must remain with the visitors throughout the visit.
When Republicans won back control of the House during the midterm elections, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Manger, House Sergeant at Arms Walker, and others with the request to develop plans to fully reopen the House by January 3. Read more…