Mask Rules on the Mount Vernon Trail

Mask Rules on the Mount Vernon Trail

Many wear masks on the trail regardless.

Even lone cyclists sported a mask.

Even lone cyclists sported a mask. Photo by Mike Salmon.

The rules about wearing masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 indicate that if you are outdoors and practicing social distancing, things are relatively safe. This would cover anyone on the Mount Vernon Trail, right? Still, out on the trail, there’s plenty of mask wearing.

A husband-and-wife pair from right up the street donned the light blue, disposable type even though they were walking alone. “I’ve even seen bikers wear them,” she said.

Another couple, Samantha Wenger and Nathaniel Hoffman, had masks stashed in the pockets of their windbreakers as they headed out for a hike on the trail. “We’ve been spacing out from other walkers,” Wenger said.

According to the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, the George Washington Memorial Parkway has updated its compendium to incorporate mask wearing rules based on President Biden’s Executive Order 13991. Mount Vernon Trail users are not required to wear masks while on the trail but are required to use a mask if entering a facility such as restrooms. The guidance sent to George Washington Memorial Parkway’s philanthropic partners is below:

“The guidance issued by the National Park Service is to be followed by employees, volunteers, partners, contractors including concessioners, and park visitors. ...

“Individuals over the age of two years must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in the following locations:

  1. All common areas and shared workspaces in buildings owned, rented, or leased by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.

  2. The following outdoor areas, when others are present, and where the superintendent has determined that physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained:

Great Falls:

· Outdoor courtyard area adjacent to the Great Falls Visitor Center

· The entrance lane to Great Falls, generally described as the travel lane and area adjacent to the fee station where vehicles stop and idle for the purpose of paying and entering the park

· The (two) designated overlooks at Great Falls

Dyke Marsh:

· Boardwalk viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk/trail

Glen Echo:

· Playground

Jones Point:

· Playground

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.