Military Cemeteries Have New Rules Due to COVID-19

On Memorial Day, it is traditional for many families to visit the graves of family members who were in the military. In the days since the COVID-19 pandemic started, military cemeteries have instituted new rules that are designed to keep visitors healthy and safe. It is wise to check the rules before you visit, as the rules are subject to change.

Arlington National Cemetery is following rules that were put in place by the Department of Defense (DoD). Arlington National Cemetery is closed to the public. It is open to family pass holders from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No temporary passes will be accepted. Funerals will be conducted as scheduled with modified funeral operations.

As of 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, security personnel will ask for mask verification at cemetery access points. They will remind visitors that they must wear masks if they are unable to maintain a six-foot social distance. Visitors who do not have a mask in their possession at entry points will not be allowed access to the cemetery.

The Department of Veterans Affairs posted a press release on March 20, 2020, stating that all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemeteries are open and will continue to provide for Veterans and eligible individuals. As of March 23, 2020, funeral honors are being postponed, and up to 10 immediate family members may witness the interment.

The steps being put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 could also be in place at local and city cemeteries. Before a genealogist visits a cemetery to photograph grave stones, they should find out if they must wear a mask.

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Society for Descendants of Those Honored at Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day

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