Hundreds of people flocked to the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., Saturday to see the iconic cherry blossoms, prompting the National Park Service to take steps to keep crowds away amid the coronavirus pandemic.
NPS urged people to stay away from the Tidal Basin as it has become "increasingly difficult to maintain effective social distancing."
"Quite frankly, the crowds we saw coming out today were considerably larger than we had yesterday," said Mike Litterst, chief of communications for National Mall and Memorial Parks.
U.S. Park Police shut down Ohio Drive at Independence Avenue SW and are not allowing vehicles into the Tidal Basin. Ohio Drive is closed in both directions between the Jefferson Memorial and Independence Avenue through West Potomac Park, authorities said.
In addition, NPS closed parking lots on Ohio Drive SW and East Potomac Park.
D.C. police said the following roads will be closed from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to help NPS keep crowds at bay:
- The Memorial Bridge
- Lincoln Memorial Circle
- Potomac River Freeway (all exits to Ohio Drive and Independence Avenue)
- Rock Creek Parkway/Potomac Parkway Drive between Virginia Avenue and Independence Avenue, SW (to include Ohio Drive, SW)
- Independence Avenue between Ohio Drive and 14th Street, SW
- 23rd Street between Constitution Avenue and Lincoln Memorial Circle
- Henry Bacon Drive between Constitution Avenue and Lincoln Memorial Circle
- 17th Street between Constitution Avenue, NW and Independence Avenue, SW
- 15th Street between Constitution Avenue, NW and Independence Avenue, SW
- Maine Avenue between Independence and 12th Street, SW
- All vehicular exits to East Potomac Park and West Potomac Park
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