Washington Monument Closed After Bernhardt Tests Positive For Virus

"Park Service staff say they may have been exposed when David Bernhardt led a private, after-hours tour"

"Officials have taken the extraordinary step of closing the Washington Monument starting Friday as a precaution after Interior Secretary David Bernhardt — who gave a private, nighttime tour to other Trump appointees this week — tested positive for the coronavirus.

Interior spokesman Nicholas Goodwin said the monument would reopen Monday, adding the department acted after consulting with federal health officials. Some National Park Service staff at the site said they were near the secretary during his tour and are now in quarantine, leading to a staffing shortage at the monument, Goodwin said.

“As we do in all circumstances when an employee attests to having covid-19, we work with our public health officials to ensure all guidance from the CDC is followed, such as identifying close contacts and cleaning areas as appropriate,” Goodwin said. “The Secretary was recently at the Washington Monument. In working with our public officials and out of an abundance of caution, a couple of employees have quarantined resulting in a temporary workforce reduction at the monument and its temporary closure.”"

Juliet Eilperin, Lisa Rein, and Darryl Fears report for the Washington Post December 18, 2020.

Source: Washington Post, 12/21/2020