by Donald Wood
Last updated: 2:11 PM ET, Tue March 15, 2022
A new plan has been presented to the United States government to reopen the Capitol to the public after more than two years of being off-limits due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
According to Destination DC, the proposal would allow up to 15 people in an approved tour group to visit congressional offices and other locations. There would be four tours per hour for school groups of up to 50 people, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.
If the plan is approved, the Capitol would reopen on March 28. The second phase would be tentatively scheduled to begin on May 30 and involve a limited reopening of the Capitol Visitor Center.
The third phase of the proposed reopening is expected to begin on Labor Day and would involve reopening the entire complex for business as usual. Masks mandates were lifted for the Capitol on February 27.
"It is time that the U.S. Capitol open once again to visitors," Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton said. "Given the importance of the Capitol to D.C.'s tourist economy, it is time for the Capitol, like the rest of D.C. is already doing, to reopen to visitors."
The decision to approve the plan will be handled by the U.S. Capitol Police department, but Police Chief Thomas Manger told CSPAN in January there could be a potential issue when reopening.
"The staffing is the biggest issue," Manger said. "We are around 440-50 officers below where we need to be to be able to do the workload that we have responsibility for."
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