DC using National Guard to prevent cherry blossom crowds, virtual tours offered

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The National Cherry Blossom Festival “commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC, and celebrates the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan.”

The Festival usually spans four weeks and is visited by more than 1.5 million people. This year the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC was scheduled for March 20 to April 12, but due to the global outbreak the majority of the festival has been canceled.

In order to keep the crowds at bay, Mayor Muriel Bowser has also ordered the Washington, DC, National Guard to work alongside with police to prevent pedestrians from accessing crowded areas where people congregate to view the cherry blossoms.

This type of military plus local police presence is probably going to be a recurring theme over the next few weeks all around the country.

Many people just can’t keep away from certain attractions like the beach and I think there will need to be some type of enforcement when it comes to crowded locations.

These lockdowns are a new concept and many people may not even be realizing that they are in violation of the policies as well, so I don’t think authorities will be handing down penalties swiftly but you never know.

The cancellation is a big blow to anybody interested in the cherry blossoms but there is a silver lining. Many more people will be able to view the cherry blossoms this year.

That’s because the Trust for the National Mall along with its partners, the National Park Service and The National Cherry Blossom Festival, opened up a virtual tour that you can access online here.

You can check out the bloom cam here. The live camera shots change every five minutes and the stream is available 24 hours a day although obviously you would want to do it during the daytime.

It might not be quite the same but it’s still a great gesture and it is encouraging to see people getting creative in order to keep our spirits up.

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