WASHINGTON — The entire National Mall area in Washington, D.C. is closed to the public at least through Inauguration Day, The National Park Service said in a tweet on Friday.
This comes as D.C. officials work to put several security measures in place following the siege at the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
Permitted First Amendment activities will still be allowed access to the Mall with certain capacity restrictions throughout the closure to the public, according to the National Park Service. These numbers are in the "hundreds", NPS says.
"The National Park Service has received a request from the United States Secret Service to temporarily restrict access to certain streets, sidewalks, and park land and to issue a temporary, partial closure of the areas roughly bounded by Constitution Avenue, NW to the north; Ohio Drive, SW to the south; the Potomac River to the west; and 3rd Street to the east. The area also generally includes President’s Park and the White House Complex, as well as NPS lands along Pennsylvania Avenue, except for designated areas for First Amendment activities. The Secret Service is currently aware of multiple security threats to the public, law enforcement, protected persons, park lands and monuments, and Presidential inauguration events," Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement on the NPS website Friday.
Several road closures have already been put in place in the downtown D.C. area. And over 15,000 National Guard members have been deployed to protect the city ahead of and during the inauguration.
Among the security measures D.C. officials have put in place, Metro announced Wednesday that they will temporarily close 13 rail stations and make changes to bus routes in the downtown D.C. area ahead of the inauguration.
Stations closed will be:
- Red Line Farragut North, Judiciary Square, Union Station
- Yellow LineGreen Line Archives
- Blue Line Arlington Cemetery
- Blue LineOrange LineSilver Line Farragut West McPherson Square, Federal
- Center SW, Capitol South, Smithsonian, Federal Triangle
Stations that are left open will run on a weekend schedule, according to WMATA.
Airbnb also announced Wednesday that it will block or cancel any reservations made on its platform during the week of the presidential inauguration.
"Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week. In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration," Airbnb said. "Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration."
The company said it will fully refund guests for canceled reservations and will reimburse hosts any money they would have earned at the company's expense.
An increased law enforcement presence will also be seen at the three DMV area airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam have urged visitors to not travel to the nation's capital for Inauguration activities and to instead attend virtually following threats of violence ahead of the event.
During the Capitol riot, six people died, including a woman who was shot and two Capitol Police officers, and dozens were injured when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Thousands of Trump supporters surrounded the U.S. Capitol following a rally on the National Mall to protest unfounded claims of election fraud in which the President told the crowd to “fight like hell”, and that if they didn’t they were “not going to have a country anymore.”
The mob forced its way in while a joint session of Congress led by Vice President Mike Pence was being held to certify the electoral college vote, confirming Joe Biden’s presidency. The rioters smashed windows, pushed back police lines and scaled the walls of the Capitol, gaining entry as far as the House and Senate Chambers where the historic vote had been happening just minutes before.
The looters ransacked offices of leaders like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and damaged or stole property throughout the complex.
The building was locked down for more than 4 hours, key members of the government were ushered away by armed security to safe locations while other Congressmen and women and their aides barricaded in their offices, fearful for their safety.
More than two dozen people have been charged with federal crimes, but the FBI is still working to identify many other rioters. Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.