WASHINGTON – The National Mall, located in Washington, D.C., may be closed to the public on Inauguration Day next week, according to two federal officials at various agencies, but the issue is still discussed with President-Elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee Is going
The National Park Service said the decision could come by Friday.
The decision to close the mall would be a major departure from previous inauguration exercises, which have seen 1 million people – or more – in the case of former President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 – in attendance.
The discussion came amid threats of violence from right-wing extremists and after President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee decided to virtualize most of the day’s ceremonies due to the coronovirus epidemic.
The Joint Inauguration Committee had already announced that it would not issue tickets for people to attend the ceremony this year.
Under a closed scenario, only authorized people would be allowed into the mall, a federal official said, such as those working on a recreation program planned for later in the evening.
Federal officials also said they are considering whether to allow entry to groups that were previously granted “First Amendment” permits.
One such permit, allowing 5,000 people, was issued to a group called “DC Action Lab”, which wanted to put themselves on a “free speech demonstration” against the inauguration. If the group is allowed access, all people in attendance will be screened by law enforcement.
The following Wednesday, pro-Trump rioters swearing in Biden as president stormed the Capitol and resulted in the death of a Capitol police officer and four others.
His inaugural committee said that Biden’s inaugural theme would be “America United” and that former presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will participate in several activities together.
The committee announced on Thursday that pop artists Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga are also planning to perform. Gaga will sing the national anthem and Lopez will perform a musical performance on the West Front of the US Capitol, where the ceremony will take place.