Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Sunday that she has ordered the National Guard to help restrict access to crowded areas around the cherry blossoms after people showed up in droves to take part in the beloved annual event.
The warmer-than-usual weather around Washington, D.C., was supposed to be perfect for The National Cherry Blossom Festival which was set to take place between March 20 and April 12.
With the spread of COVID-19 around the world, a majority of the events surrounding the festival were canceled, but that wasn’t enough to stop crowds from gathering last week.
A screen shot of footage captured by EarthCam showed authorities patrolling the area along the National Mall on Monday morning. (EarthCam)
The weather last week in the area was unseasonably warm, with temperatures reaching into the 80s, which could’ve been a factor in drawing people outdoors to view the blossoms.
Bowser added and extended restrictions across the area to help disrupt crowds from forming in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. One of these new restrictions included prohibiting pedestrian and bicycle traffic around the National Mall.
“We strongly urge anyone considering a visit to see the cherry blossoms to reconsider and to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” the National Mall said in a statement Saturday afternoon.
As of Monday morning, Washington, D.C., reported 120 confirmed cases of coronavirus and two deaths.
Additionally, road traffic remains closed around the Tidal Basin which includes the Jefferson Memorial until further notice after the local government requested the National Park Service to close the area.
In response to the cancellations and restrictions, the festival introduced a virtual tour so people can still get a look at the blossoms from home.
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