Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(a)(2), in accordance with Executive Order 13991, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing (E.O. 13991), National Mall and Memorial Parks is implementing a temporary restriction on activities within park areas for the maintenance of public health and safety. This restriction is effective as of midnight, February 9, 2021 and will be in place until modified, rescinded, or superseded.
As stated in E.O. 13991, it is the policy of the Administration to halt the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID–19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures. Such measures include wearing masks when around others, physical distancing, and other related precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On January 24, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget issued M-21-15, COVID-19 Safe Federal Workplace: Agency Model Safety Principles to provide guidance to federal agencies on implementing E.O. 13991. M-21-15 contains model safety principles that apply CDC guidelines related to mask-wearing and physical distancing to the federal workplace and are designed to be used by federal agencies as a starting point for updating their COVID-19 workplace safety plans.
On January 29, 2021, the Acting Secretary of the Interior issued a memorandum entitled Protecting Our Workforce by Requiring Mask-Wearing. This memorandum reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to an urgent, robust, and professional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Memorandum requires all onsite employees, contractors, and volunteers to wear a mask or face covering at all times while in Department buildings or on federal public lands when physical distancing of 6 feet or more is not possible.
Individuals over the age of two years must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in the following locations:
1. All common areas and shared workspaces in buildings (to include memorials) owned, rented or leased by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, maintenance yards, exhibit areas, lodges, gift shops, and restaurants.
2. The following outdoor areas, when others are present and when it has been determined that physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained:
Memorials and open-air sites (the most visited locations listed below):
Common outdoor gathering areas, bathrooms, playgrounds, lawn, parking lots and other areas adjacent to the following locations to include:
Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that identify masks as a critical step to prevent contracting and spreading COVID-19.
The temporary restriction is not of a nature, magnitude or duration that will result in a “significant alteration in the public use pattern.” The closure will not adversely affect the park’s natural aesthetic or cultural values, nor require significant modification to the resource management objection, nor is it of a highly controversial nature.
Accordingly, the National Park Service determines publication as rulemaking in the Federal Register is unwarranted under 36 CFR § 1.5(c). This determination is consistent with hundreds of earlier partial or temporary closures, the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor, and judicial adjudications that have upheld other NPS closures and public use limitations. Spiegel v. Babbitt, 855 F. Supp. 402 (D.D.C. 1994) affd in part w/o op. 56 F. 3d 1531 (D.C. Cir. 1995), reported in full, 1995 US App. Lexis 15200 (D.C. Cir. May 31, 1995); ANSWER Coalition v. Norton, No. 05-0071, (D.D.C. January 18, 2005), Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-1715 (D.D.C. August 22, 2002), plaintiff’s emergency motion for appeal for injunction pending appealed denied Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-5275 (D.C. Cir. September 9, 2002) (per curium); Picciotto v. United States, No. 99-2113 (D.D.C. August 6, 1999); Picciotto v. Lujan, No. 90-1261 (D.D.C. May 30, 1990) Picciotto v. Hodel, No. 87-3290 (D.D.C. December 7, 1987).
Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(c), 1.7, notice of this temporary and partial closure will be made through roadway gates and the posting of signs at conspicuous locations in the affected park area. Finally, pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(c), this determination is available to the public upon request.
Jeffrey P. Reinbold
Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks
February 10, 2021
Last updated: February 10, 2021