White House announces public tours are back next month after being paused during the COVID pandemic – and masks are optional

  • The White House announced Monday that public tours would resume after being paused for the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic 
  • Tours will begin again on July 19 with a full operating schedule from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
  • Face masks will be made available to tour groups – but the White House said coverings are optional 

The White House announced Monday that public tours would resume after being paused for the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tours will begin again on July 19 with a full operating schedule from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Face masks will be made available to tour groups – but the White House said coverings are optional. 

Tour groups haven't been led through the interior of the White House - including the Red Room (pictured) - since mid-March 2020

Tour groups haven’t been led through the interior of the White House – including the Red Room (pictured) – since mid-March 2020 

The White House's Blue Room. White House tours will resume Tuesdays through Saturdays starting on July 19

The White House’s Blue Room. White House tours will resume Tuesdays through Saturdays starting on July 19 

Tourists take selfies in front of the White House in April of this year. The White House has been closed to most public tours since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Tourists take selfies in front of the White House in April of this year. The White House has been closed to most public tours since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 

The White House also asked guests not to come for 10 days if they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, shown any symptoms or been a close contact to someone confirmed or suspected of having COVID. 

‘The White House will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation with guidance based on recommendations from the CDC, and other public health officials and medical experts, and reserves the right to adjust availability of the public tours as necessary to adhere to the latest health guidance,’ the release said. 

The tours are free, but tickets must be procured through an individual’s member of Congress and that member’s Congressional Tour Coordinator. 

They are divvied out on a first-come, first-served basis. 

On March 12, 2020 both the White House and Congress shut down access to the public. 

At the time, former President Donald Trump’s spokesman Judd Deere said the White House would cancel tours ‘until further notice.’ 

It wasn’t until this spring when the White House’s traditional garden tours resumed. 

The Biden administration also invited thousands to the annual Easter Egg Roll. 

Last summer, the president held an outdoor Fourth of July celebration to mark progress with the pandemic, as there was widespread access to vaccinations.

But shortly thereafter the Delta variant surged case counts across the country and leaving the White House closed to tour groups. 

Similarly, the White House Christmas decorations were only seen by small groups of invited guests, as the Omicron variant of COVID upended the holiday season.  

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