Veterans cemeteries lift COVID restrictions ahead of Memorial Day

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Saturday, May 29, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTRK) -- The days of limited attendance and certain mask requirements at funerals have come to an end at the nation's 155 cemeteries dedicated to veterans.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week it has ended restrictions on gathering sizes at committal and memorial services in VA national cemeteries.

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The rule changes took effect on Wednesday, May 26, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend when more visitors are expected.

"This is an important step in restoring full operations," Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ronald Walters said in a statement. "We are pleased families will no longer have to limit the number of people attending a service or physically distance themselves from each other after they are fully vaccinated."

The VA's National Cemetery Administration will continue to require physical distancing and face coverings for people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the statement from the VA.

Gathering sizes have been limited for nearly a year and were restricted entirely from late March to June 2020.

The changes impact Houston National Cemetery in the northern part of the city, a 419 acre site where more than 109,000 veterans have been buried since it was established in 1965.

FROM MARCH 2020: Families unable to mourn due to COVID-19 restrictions on funerals