WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — DC Mayor Muriel Bowser again urged Americans to enjoy the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden virtually from home.
“We want everybody to enjoy it and enjoy it right in their own states in their own living rooms and with their own families,” Bowser said. “We know that this is the right request for our public safety, and our public health.”READ MORE: Baltimore Mayor, Maryland Governor Clash After Hogan Says City Getting More Vaccines Than ‘Entitled To’ In Response To WJZ Question
Ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the National Park Service closed a large part of the National Mall and is restricting access to roads in the area. Train service has also been suspended starting Sunday and several Metro stations will be closed starting Friday.
“We continue to ask anyone who doesn’t absolutely need to be out and about, or in those restricted areas to avoid them,” she said.
Bowser also asked that people report suspicious activity to the authorities by calling 911.
“We also know that residents are eager to do what they can do to keep our city safe and we certainly appreciate it,” she added. “So we want you to be vigilant, look around yourselves when you’re out and about.”
If you see or hear things that appear out of the ordinary, contact police:
For immediate threats or emergencies, call: 911
For suspicious activity or behavior, call: (202) 727-9099
Use MPD’s iWATCH website: https://t.co/VScCXff0h4
Use MPD’s Text Tip Line at: 50411 pic.twitter.com/20QrFjd4L1
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 14, 2021
They are also asking residents and business owners to post ‘No Guns’ signs at their homes and businesses. But, she said should someone come into or near their business with a weapon, employees should call authorities and not confront them.
Matt Miller, the Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office for the United States Secret Service, said what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 cannot happen again.READ MORE: West Baltimore Native, Descendent Of Slaves On Last US-Bound Ship From Africa, Shares Family's Legacy
“We cannot allow a recurrence of the chaos and illegal activity that the United States and the world witnessed last week,” Miller said. “Our democracy is built on the rule of law and the Secret Service workforce is dedicated and committed to uphold its oath to the constitution.”
National Park Police officials say two groups known to local authorities have applied for protest permits and two designated areas have been created for those people to exercise their First Amendment rights. Up to 100 people will be allowed into those two zones and Park Police will meet them, screen them through magnetometers and escort them to the designated areas.
Miller said the FBI is monitoring “concerning online chatter” and working 24 hours a day to pursue every lead and every credible threat.
Although companies like AirBnB have created security measures to deter extremists from renting their properties, the mayor said they have not shut down hotels in the city and are leaving it up to hotels to handle their operations.
“We have been in close contact with the hotel associations and various property managers and we’ll continue to do that,” Bowser said.
As for residents or employees who may need to access the inauguration zone, they should talk to the Secret Service agent in the area and have proper documentation to get access. But authorities have spoken to area businesses.
Federal agencies and Metropolitan Police say they are ready to be deployed should other demonstrations pop up in other parts of the city or near the National Mall.
Any car needing to drive through the secure area will be searched for explosives weapons and other prohibited items.
People in and around Washington, D.C. are encouraged so signup for updates on public safety, street closures, weather alerts, transit updates and more via Nixle text alerts from the DC Government. Text INAUG2021 to 888-777 to sign up.
Additional information is available online at http://www.nps.gov/inauguration.MORE NEWS: 'Change Is Necessary': Police Reform Bills Pass Committee Hurdle In Maryland Senate