D.C. may ease rules for tour guides
To obtain a D.C. tour guide license, it’s not enough to know that the Washington Monument is the world’s tallest obelisk at 555 feet, 5.5 inches, that Thomas Circle was named for Union Gen. George Henry Thomas or that the statue of President James Buchanan can be found at Meridian Hill Park.
Under existing law, tour guides must also not be epileptics. They must not be new Washington area residents, or hard of hearing, or a drunkard or “subject to vertigo.”
But the rules will soon change, as the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has proposed easing the conditions for becoming a licensed tour guide, the Washington Business Journal reports.
All applicants will still have to pass a test “covering the applicant’s knowledge of buildings and points of historical and general interest in the District.”
But under the new rules, gone is the mandate that a licensed sightseeing guide be a U.S. citizen who has lived in the Washington area for at least two years. Gone is the demand that an applicant “read, write and speak English.” It is replaced with “proficient in the English language.”
No longer must an aspiring guide maintain a “sound physique” with at least 20/40 eyesight and hearing in both ears, not live with epilepsy, vertigo or heart trouble, and be free from any contagious or infectious disease. And a “drunkard,” according to the amended rules, is free to apply.
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