'Core areas' of the National Mall to be closed for Biden's inauguration

‘Core areas’ of the National Mall to be closed for Biden’s inauguration

Members of the New York National Guard stand guard along the fence that surrounds the U.S. Capitol the day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time January 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla | Getty ImagesThe National Park Service on Friday said it will shut down “core areas” of the National Mall to the public when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next Wednesday.The closures of the Mall, where thousands of Americans traditionally gather to watch presidential inaugurations, started Friday at 11 a.m. and will extend through at least next Thursday, the National Park Service said in a press release.The decision comes more than a week after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters marched across the park and stormed the U.S. Capitol.National Guard members have been deployed to the Capitol and other parts of the city as officials fear more violence and unrest could be in store ahead of Biden’s inauguration.The closures also come amid a massive surge in coronavirus cases, with January on track to become the nation’s deadliest month for the pandemic, which has already killed more than 384,794 people in the U.S.The congressional committee planning the inauguration had already announced that it would issue significantly fewer tickets to the event than in years past, in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.Spectators at past inaugurations flooded the Mall, which comprises the strip of landscaped public space between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. The size of the crowd became a source of controversy at the start of Trump’s administration, when then-press secretary Sean Spicer forcefully and falsely asserted to White House reporters that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period.”This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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