WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — White House public tours are officially back. On Friday, the Biden administration opened the grounds to the public for the first time in over a year.
Visitors from around the country were lined up ready to go early Friday morning.
“It’s really cool how you can’t go a block without seeing a monument somewhere,” said Evelyn Philbeck.
“I’m so happy,” said Nancy Morris-Homan.
Morris-Homan said she made the trip from California to Washington, D.C. three times, but this visit is extra special. She’s one of the first tourists to go inside the White House in over a year.
“To be able to just stand close and inhale is really important to me. I get goosebumps,” she said.
The White House closed its doors to the public in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public tours briefly resumed in September, but that only lasted a few weeks.
“We are just glad it worked out, because it’s been closed for a very long time,” Carol Herr, who’s visiting from Indiana, said.
The tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis through your member of congress, and you can’t just walk on up. They have to be requested and approved 21 days to three months in advance.
The White House said space is also limited. Only 15 people are allowed in each group, and tours are only offered between select hours on Friday and Saturday.
“Even when you come more than once, you still get thrilled and excited, because we are Americans, and this is the home of America,” said Morris-Homan.