The iconic cherry blossoms that draw scores of admirers to Washington, DC, each spring reached peak bloom this weekend, but with officials urging “social distancing” to curb the spread of coronavirus, first lady Melania Trump has a suggestion to potential onlookers: view the trees online.
In a Sunday tweet, the first lady guided people to the National Park Service’s “#BloomCam,” a live feed of several different parts of the city where the trees are, and asked people to “Please follow social distancing guidelines to avoid #COVID19.”
Please follow social distancing guidelines to avoid #COVID19. Thanks to @TheNationalMall you can do that via the #BloomCam here: https://t.co/KrbT6wZWAI and still enjoy the beloved Cherry Blossoms on @NationalmallNPS
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) March 22, 2020
Cherry blossom experts define peak bloom as the day when 70% of the Yoshino variety cherry blossoms are open on the cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin. This year’s peak bloom is expected to last from March 21 to 24, according to the NPS’ website. Photos posted on social media in recent days have shown sizable crowds at the areas where the trees are located.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, countless local, state and national events, including Washington’s National Cherry Blossom Festival parade, which was set to fete the trees next month, have been canceled or postponed.