Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Washington mayor Muriel Bowser have joined forces to urge Americans not to travel to the nation’s capital for the coming week’s presidential inauguration, asking citizens to “participate virtually” instead.
In a joint statement, Northam, Hogan and Bowser called the move an “extraordinary step” but emphasized that the move was necessary “due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that multiple D.C. agencies, including the U.S. Capitol Police, Pentagon, Homeland Security and District-area police, are mobilizing in preparation for next week’s event, with enhanced security measures, including checkpoints, metal detectors and fencing, expected to be in place.
Additionally, at least 10,000 National Guard troops are expected to be deployed throughout the D.C. area by this Saturday.
Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement that there will be no public access to the Capitol grounds during the inauguration and that the Capitol Police had “comprehensive, coordinated plans in place” to ensure safety and security.
In a statement, Destination DC president and CEO Elliott Ferguson said, “Mayor Muriel Bowser and President-elect Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee have made it clear that it’s for everyone’s benefit to stay home and celebrate the inauguration virtually in light of the unprecedent attack on American democracy last week and ongoing threat to our country as outlined by the FBI.”
Ferguson added that Destination DC would be sharing updates as well as information on how to attend the festivities virtually, on its website.
UPDATED: This report was updated to include a statement from Destination DC.