UPDATED April 22, 2020
Effective immediately, per Department of Defense (DoD) guidance, all personnel entering Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) must have a face covering on their person. Mr. Charles Alexander, Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, has directed the wearing of face coverings while in locations within the cemetery where people cannot maintain a six-foot social distance, specifically in the Administration Building (family rooms, restrooms) and during funeral services. Security personnel will be asking all visitors, family members and employees for proof of face coverings.
Q. Why is ANC mandating masks for all visitors?
A. Effective April 5, 2020, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper required military personnel, DoD civilians, their family members and DoD contractors to wear cloth face coverings on military installations in public settings or where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. At Arlington National Cemetery, Mr. Charles Alexander, Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, has determined that if there are public areas where people cannot maintain a six-foot social distance, the wear of face coverings is expected.
Q. Will visiting family members and funeral attendees be required to wear masks?
A. Yes. Family members and funeral attendees will be required to wear masks while in the Administration Building (family rooms, restrooms) and during funeral services, and elsewhere if they cannot maintain the required six (6) feet of social distancing from other personnel on cemetery property.
Q. Will security be enforcing this regulation?
A. At cemetery access points, security personnel will ask for mask verification and remind visitors they must wear their masks if they are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance. If visitors do not have a mask in their possession at entry points, they will not be allowed access into the cemetery. Cemetery representatives will also make this announcement prior to each funeral.
UPDATED April 6, 2020
- Arlington National Cemetery strongly encourages all funeral attendees, family pass holders, employees/contractors and authorized visitors to wear cloth face coverings, to the extent practical, when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance. Security checkpoints at ANC gates may require the lowering of face covers to verify identification. We appreciate your patience in this matter, as Arlington National Cemetery continues to follow DoD regulations and CDC guidance.
UPDATED March 31, 2020
- Effective immediately, Arlington National Cemetery is suspending all issuance of temporary visitation passes.
- Family pass holders visiting a gravesite will be admitted with their family pass. The Welcome Center is closed to all visitors, including family pass holders. In compliance with current CDC guidance, DoD guidelines and the Maryland and Virginia governors' and the District of Washington mayor's Stay at Home orders, ANC asks family pass holders to assist in keeping everyone safe and healthy by following the below guidelines:
- Please consider staying at home until we are through this national emergency.
- Adhere to the guidance of fewer than 10 people when visiting the cemetery.
- Family passes may not be used to visit popular ANC sites; the cemetery is closed for tourism.
- Reduce the frequency of your visits, limit the time you are at ANC, only visit your loved one's gravesite and adhere to the prohibition on recreation at ANC.
UPDATED March 27, 2020
- Arlington National Cemetery is CLOSED to visitors until further notice. Click here for more information. Arlington National Cemetery is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees, family members and visitors.
- Funerals will proceed as scheduled. However, beginning March 30, 2020, all service member or veteran funerals at Arlington National Cemetery will be conducted with military funeral honors only. Military funeral honors with escort have been curtailed in order to comply with Department of Defense (DoD) directives and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for maximizing social distancing. Families will be notified in advance and will be provided the opportunity to reschedule their service for a later date. Click here for more information.
- Families who arrive for scheduled funerals will be asked to remain in their cars when they arrive into the designated queuing lanes. Family members should contact 877-907-8585 for more information on new arrival procedures, or if they would like to reschedule a funeral.
- We are working with our interagency partners to ensure that all official ceremonies and public events are coordinated or rescheduled.
- Effective March 19, 2020, the ANC flag flying program is suspended until further notice. Any flags shipped to the cemetery after that date will be returned to the sender.
- We will continue to evaluate the evolving COVID-19 conditions and will make risk-based decisions on our day-to-day operations to ensure the safety of everyone who works at and visits our nation's most hallowed grounds. ANC is working with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall medical staff and federal, state and local public health professionals who continue to closely monitor the situation.
- We encourage all funeral attendees and family pass holders to continue to practice proper hygiene as the best way to prevent the spread of viruses.
Official U.S. Government Information on COVID-19:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why is Arlington National Cemetery being closed to visitors and not funerals?
A. Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is being closed to all visitors to protect the health of our employees, families and visitors. We are taking proactive steps to mitigate the spread of the virus, as many of the cemetery’s memorials and visitor spaces do not allow for the recommended social distancing that is called for by medical guidelines.
Families have been waiting patiently to bury their loved ones and we are continuing to accommodate this critical mission under current conditions.
Q. What type of military honors are being conducted at funerals at Arlington National Cemetery?
A. As of March 30, 2020, all services will be conducted with military funeral honors. Military funeral honors with escort are curtailed until further notice. Families will be contacted and authorized either to reschedule their service or receive the honors available.
Q. Whose funerals does this change affect?
A. Those military members who attained the grade of E-9, CW-4 and CW-5, and O-4 and above, or service members regardless of rank who received the Medal of Honor or who were killed in action. Currently, ANC has no Medal of Honor or killed in action services scheduled.
Q. Have there been any changes to the process of scheduling a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery?
A. No. Families who have lost a loved one must contact the Arlington National Cemetery Call Center at 877-907-8585 to begin the scheduling process. The call center will provide instructions for scheduling a funeral.
Q. When will ANC reopen to the public, and how will the public be informed?
A. Arlington National Cemetery will notify the public as we continue to assess the situation and will keep you informed as we update our status based on changing conditions. We will regularly update the public to all status changes via a banner on this website, push notification to the ANC Explorer app and all social media platforms. We encourage anyone who plans to visit ANC to continue checking this website for the most up-to-date information.
Q. If a group wants to cancel their scheduled wreath ceremony or special event, what should they do?
A. Contact our Operations Branch at 703-614-1111 and ask to speak to a representative.
Q. Has Arlington National Cemetery ever closed to visitors due to a health or other public emergency?
A. Yes. Arlington National Cemetery has previously closed to visitors due to weather emergencies, such as the flash floods that occurred in the Arlington area in July 2019, and a bomb threat in 2018. ANC takes seriously its commitment to the safety of all those who work at and visit these hallowed grounds.
Q. If family members and funeral guests come to the cemetery, what should they do?
A. All funeral attendees or family pass holders must follow the directions of security personnel and proceed to the queuing lanes. The primary next or kin (PNOK) or person authorized to direct disposition (PADD) should enter the family room in the Administration Building to complete the required documentation and then return to their vehicle. All other personnel may use the public restrooms, but should immediately return to their vehicles. We are recommending limiting social interaction and conducting the recommended social distancing. Additional directions will be provided once funeral attendees arrive in the queuing lanes. More information on funerals.
Q. Are physical security procedures still in place?
A. Yes. All visitors—to include family pass holders and funeral attendees—must show their government-issued ID card or a passport. Physical screenings remain in place as well.
Q. How many cemetery caretakers/cemetery representatives are still onsite working? Are they taking any additional precautions?
A. ANC has 75 cemetery caretakers and representatives working every day to ensure that our veterans and families are laid to rest with the dignified ceremonies that the public has come to expect at Arlington National Cemetery. We are also maximizing the use of telework across our workforce. Our entire team is following both DoD directions and CDC guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Q. Are visitors and staff at Arlington National Cemetery wearing face coverings?
A. In accordance with the Secretary of Defense memorandum from April 5, Arlington National Cemetery is following all Department of Defense (DoD) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to protect the cemetery's families, visitors and employees as we continue to lay our nation's veterans to rest. Effective immediately, ANC highly encourages all funeral attendees, family pass holders, employees, contractors and authorized visitors to wear cloth face coverings, to the extent practical, when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance. Security checkpoints at all ANC gates may require the lowering of face covers to verify identification. ANC employees and contractors will use their best judgment when it comes to color, fit and design of face coverings to maintain the high standards the public has come to know at these hallowed grounds.