Arlington, other national cemeteries to relax COVID-19 restrictions before Memorial Day

Vaccinated people will be able to gather in large groups at graves without masks.
Arlington National Cemetery, 2020.
Arlington National Cemetery, Veterans Day, November 11, 2020.
(Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Arlington National Cemetary, along with more than 150 other national veterans' cemeteries, will relax many of the restrictions they imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and will allow vaccinated visitors to gather in large groups at graves without wearing masks.

Arlington National Cemetary reopened its Metro stop Sunday and is expected to reopen its visitors center Thursday, according to The New York Times.

"We are very happy families and visitors are able to have a full visitor's experience to honor, remember and explore," said Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Arlington National Cemetery.

Masks will still be required indoors, and unvaccinated visitors will still be required to wear masks indoors and outdoors. It is unclear at this time how the parks will be able to differentiate vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors or how they will enforce the rule.

Last Memorial Day, during the first wave of the pandemic, Arlington National Cemetary modified its rules. No more than 10 family members could attend a funeral. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was closed to visitors and burial services were held without bugles or rifle salutes.