Record of Determination - May 2020 NAMA COVID-19 Closures

April 28, 2020

Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(a)(1) the National Mall and Memorial Parks is temporarily closing National Park Service public facilities, parking areas and roadways to support the District of Columbia’s effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These closures begin immediately and will remain in effect through Friday, May 15, 2020, but may be extended if conditions persist. The National Park Service will reopen areas as it determines, in consultation with public authorities, that mechanisms are in place to maintain social distance guidelines from the CDC for the expected visitation levels.

The facility closures include public access to Washington Monument, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and Old Post Office Tower. The park will also close all public restrooms and prohibit gameplay and group gatherings at all athletic fields. The USPP will disperse any groups that gather in the park in excess of the social distancing standards. USPP will work with park staff to temporarily close access to any of the outdoor monuments or memorials when crowding occurs and the social distancing standards are not being met. Temporary closures at the outdoor memorials and monuments will be removed and the sites reopened once social distancing guidelines can again be met.

Managing vehicle access is one of the most effective ways for the park to achieve visitation levels where social distancing guidelines can be met. The park and USPP will close the parking lots and on street parking south of Independence Avenue, as well as restrict access to Hains Point, as depicted on the attached map. If these actions do not produce visitation levels where social distancing requirements are being met, the NPS and USPP will institute temporary road closures at the major intersections south of Independence Avenue as identified on the map. The temporary road closures would restrict vehicular access south of Independence Avenue except for NPS and USPP personnel and related contractors, deliveries, and other businesses within the restricted area for the duration of the temporary closure. Pedestrian access would not be affected. These temporary parking and road closures will include barricades, police tape, and vehicles in parking areas and USPP officers, vehicles and temporary barriers at road closures. Metropolitan Police Department may institute temporary closures on city streets as conditions dictate.

These temporary closures are based upon a determination, in consultation with the local authorities, that such actions are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety. These temporary closures will begin immediately and will remain in effect through Friday, May 15, 2020, but may be extended if conditions persist.

The temporary closures are not of a nature, magnitude or duration that will result in a “significant alteration in the public use pattern.” The closures 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 these temporary and partial closures 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
 
Map Record of Determination - April 2020 NAMA COVID-19 Map--Parking and Road Closures
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Last updated: April 30, 2020

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