D.C.'s Famed Cherry Blossoms Draw Smaller Crowd Amid Pandemic

Crowds were lighter than last year, but hundreds of spectators did turn out to see the famous cherry trees in bloom.
Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 20, 2020

The iconic cherry trees in Washington, D.C., are in peak bloom.

The bursting of light pink flowers usually draws 1.5 million people to the nation’s capital.

Not this year.

Far thinner crowds wandered beneath the cotton candy floral canopies near the Jefferson Memorial on Friday, despite near-perfect springtime weather.

Coronavirus had reshaped yet another annual American tradition.

"There's definitely a lot more room than usual," said Slater Scarborough, who was out taking engagement photos with his fiancée, Morgan Miller. 

This year, the National Park Service has recommended cherry blossom enthusiasts keep the CDC's recommended 6-foot distance from one another.

"That is not happening here," said Lynda Adamson, who was taking a walk beneath the trees while wearing a mask. "I'm sort of an aberration. There are very few masks here."

Hundreds walked among the blossoms, cameras in hand, snapping photos of some of the 3,800 Yoshino cherry trees given to the city by Japan in 1912. 

Still, this was no Miami Beach, where social media shamed packs of spring breakers caught soaking in sun amid COVID-19 warnings to avoid large gatherings.

It is possible to see the trees and keep your distance.

The cherry blossom parade and other festivities have been canceled or postponed.

And this year, the Park Service is encouraging people to make this another activity to be enjoyed virtually.

Free live "bloom cams" will take you here from the safety of home. 

The Park Service says stay away if you're sick and keep that separation if you can't resist a trip to see the blossoms show off their stunning color.