The Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) has issued guidance for Federal agencies to allow employees to telework and use all other “workplace flexibility” to keep employees out of downtown in the District of Columbia for the next week.

This comes as Metro (WMATA) says it’s closing 13 stops in the District of Columbia until Jan. 21, the day after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Those 13 stops fall inside of the Inauguration security perimeter and will be passed over for nearly a week until after the inauguration.

“We are working closely with our regional and Federal partners to keep the public safe during this National Special Security Event and to discourage travel within the secure zone,” Paul Wiedefeild, Metro general manager said in a release. “While we are supporting law enforcement plans to enhance security, we are also keeping essential services in place for our residents who need to get to work, to medical appointments, and to grocery stores.”

The latest closures joined a mounting list of restrictions in the district, as the city looks to make the inauguration go as smoothly as possible in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Robert Contee, Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) chief, said there will be upwards of 20,000 National Guard personnel deployed to the city, though the final number could fluctuate as the Secret Service makes final determinations.

“We’re not asking people to come to D.C. for this [inauguration],” Contee said at a Jan. 13 press conference. “There’s a major security threat, and we are working to mitigate those threats. We’re intently focused on the job that’s at hand.”

While Metro is not fully halting service in the city, a Jan. 13 release lists more than a few high-volume stops that will not be operational until after the inauguration, with service stopping Jan. 15 at 11 stops and Jan. 16 at two more high-volume stops.

Downtown stops Gallery Place and Metro Center will be closed starting Jan. 16 and the following stops will close starting Friday, Jan. 15:

  • Red line stops Farragut North, Judiciary Square, and Union Station;
  • Archives on the yellow and green lines;
  • Arlington Cemetery on the blue line; and
  • Blue, orange, and silver line stops Farragut West, Federal Center Southwest, Capitol South, McPherson Square, Smithsonian, and Federal Triangle.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate and establish a “security and Federal force deployment plan,” she said at the Jan. 13 press conference. Earlier in the week, Bowser, along with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, urged residents of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to stay home on Jan. 20 and watch the ceremony virtually.

Metrobuses will continue to run on a normal schedule – albeit with delays getting around the security perimeter – every day except for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 when the buses will run on a Saturday schedule, WMATA said in the release. In addition to Metro and previously announced road closures, The Washington Post reported the National Mall will be closed to the public for the Inauguration as well.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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