SALT LAKE CITY — The public open house for the renovated Washington D.C. Temple will be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an announcement Wednesday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Because of concern for the effects of COVID-19, the open house, youth devotional, and rededication of the Washington D.C. Temple are postponed until large public gatherings are deemed safe,” the church said in a statement.

The open house was scheduled to be held from Sept. 24 through Oct. 31. The temple was scheduled to be dedicated on Dec. 13.

Washington D.C. Temple: Renderings released, open house dates announced
A complete list of temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The decision will add to the growing public anticipation for the open house.

The landmark that towers over the Capital Beltway in Kensington, Maryland, has been closed to the general public since 1974, when 758,322 people toured the temple during its original open house. Temples are the most sacred buildings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once they are dedicated, only church members with a recommend from church leaders may enter.

The temple closed for renovation in March 2018. The work is nearly completed.

The church announced the open house in February to give the public, international diplomats and others the opportunity to plan months in advance.

“We want to ensure that everyone in the area knows the doors are opening, and we know there are a lot of people who’ve always waited for this moment,” local church spokesman Aaron Sherinian said at the time.

After the open house, the temple will be closed to the public again.

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Workers upgraded the temple’s mechanical systems. Workers also are refreshing the temple’s finishes and furnishings, according to a news release.

For example, one image among the renderings and photos released in February thrilled church members. New lighting has been placed on the stained glass behind the temple’s recommend desk, revealing that it depicts the Tree of Life from the Book of Mormon.

The temple is the tallest in the church at 288 feet. It has seven floors and is topped by the statue of the trumpet-blowing Angel Moroni on one of six spires.

The temple serves Latter-day Saints in Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. While the temple has been closed, church members have traveled to Philadelphia, North Carolina and New York to receive and perform temple ordinances.

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