KEY POINTS

  • Cherry Blossom Festival cancelled
  • Social distancing in effect at stations
  • Bus drivers can bypass stops to avoid crowding aboard

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has limited its services in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

"Our region is speaking with one voice: Stay home," WMATA said in a press release. "Essential travel only."

The Washington metro area subway system will close at 11 pm daily until further notice starting Wednesday night. Subway opens at 5 am on weekdays and 8 am on weekends. 

Trains will run every 15 minutes on each line. All trains will operate with eight cars, the maximum possible length, to help maintain social distancing between passengers.

Metro’s Rail Operations Control Centers will actively monitor trains and station platforms for any possible crowding, something that has not been an issue at any point during the pandemic emergency response.

Buses will operate on a Sunday schedule, with supplemental service on selected routes to prevent crowding and ensure areas are not cut off.

Bus drivers have the authority to bypass bus stops to maintain safe social distancing aboard the vehicle.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting events, attractions and other businesses throughout the Washington, DC, area. The Cherry Blossom festival is the latest victim.

Cherry blossoms are nearing peak bloom around the Tidal Basin. More than a million tourists generally visit DC from around the world for the Cherry Blossom Festival that was planned for March 20- April 12. The festival and all associatied events have either been closed or postponed.

The Metro system is a popular way of being transported to the festival.