By the time Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, D.C. will resemble a post-apocalyptic party zone. In the aftermath of a pro-Trump mob’s unprecedented takeover of the U.S. Capitol, federal and state authorities have ordered more than 20,000 National Guard troops — about four times as many as the U.S. has stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined — to protect the seat of American democracy during the ceremonial transition period. District residents, 92 percent of which voted for Biden, would normally be inclined to celebrate. But the FBI has warned that more extremist groups are planning armed marches and other demonstrations in Washington — and nationwide — for days leading up to the big event at noon Wednesday, January 20. Many of the public spaces D.C. is known for, particularly around the Capitol, the National Mall, and downtown, will be closed off. Here’s a look at what to know, where to eat, and where to avoid on Inauguration Day.
Are restaurants open?
Per the latest emergency order from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, restaurants in the city are closed for indoor dining through January 21, but many are offering cheeky themed cocktails and other specials for takeout and delivery. Many restaurants surrounding downtown and Capitol Hill are opting to close as a safety precaution for workers and customers, so walk-in customers should check availability online before attempting to order.
What restaurants are offering special takeout and drinks?
Where should people shop to toast the new President?
What is shut down?
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has urged residents to stay away from downtown. Starting Friday, January 15, all parking garages are closed between 19th and 14th Streets NW and K Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Read a full list of street closures here.
The National Park service has closed the National Mall to the public, cutting off grassy expanses spanning from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Federal security officials have asked their counterparts in Virginia to shut down multiple bridges into D.C. — but not the Key Bridge or Chain Bridge — from 6 a.m. Saturday, January 16, until 6 a.m. Thursday, January 21, the Washington Post reports.
Transportation authority WMATA announced it will close 13 Metro stations from Saturday through Thursday: Metro Center, Gallery Place, Farragut North, Judiciary Square, Union Station, Archives, Arlington Cemetery, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Federal Center SW, Capitol South, Smithsonian, and Federal Triangle.
Airbnb announced it is canceling all reservations in the D.C. metro area. Unite Here Local 25, a 7,500-member union for hotel, restaurant, and casino workers, issued a statement pressuring D.C. hotels to close unless they were housing security personnel. “No worker, Union or non-Union, should have to risk their life to go into work. Unfortunately, that is the situation we are now faced with,” a statement from the executive-secretary treasurer of the D.C. chapter says. Local activists with Black Lives Matter D.C. and ShutDownDC have also called for hotels to close. Bowser has said she’ll consider forcing hotels to shut down, but she hadn’t done that as of Friday afternoon.
We are calling on hotels in the DC region to close ahead of inauguration, unless they are hosting security personnel. Any hotel that stays open must permit workers to stay home and/or leave the moment they feel unsafe. Our full statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/SB1Tfwanfs
— UNITE HERE Local 25 (@DCHotelworkers) January 13, 2021
What do we know about pro-Trump protests?
Bowser has asked the Department of the Interior to deny or revoke all demonstration permits through January 24, but as of Friday the department had not made a determination.
DCist reports a “Let America Hear Us, Roar For Trump” group requested a permit allowing 300 people to gather near the White House at Lafayette Park, and Freedom Plaza, from January 18 to January 20. The Washington Post reports that organizers of the “Million Militia March” appear to have called off plans for an Inauguration Day event. On far-right forum TheDonald.win, the leader of the white supremacist Proud Boys wrote to followers that they would “pick and choose our battles moving forward.”