Capitol Riot

National Mall May Be Closed on Inauguration Day; Decision May Come Friday

Earlier reports indicated the closure was a done deal, but the National Park Service and the Inaugural Committee are considering several options

The entire National Mall may be closed to the public on Inauguration Day, National Park Service officials tell NBC News. 

Park Service officials and the Presidential Inaugural Committee will decide whether to completely close the Mall, leave it open or close it to the general public but permit some groups to enter once they are screened, Park Service officials said. 

Two federal officials previously told NBC News that the Mall would be closed. 

An official announcement is expected as early as Friday. 

The closure would be the latest of several tight security measures in the wake of the Capitol riot. Members of the public usually gather on the Mall to watch the inauguration, but this year officials ask that people stay away and participate online instead. 

The Joint Inaugural Committee already announced it would not issue tickets this year for people who can attend closer to the swearing-in ceremony. This latest closure extends to the entire Mall.

Only authorized people will be allowed onto the Mall, one official said, such as those working on the entertainment program planned for later in the evening. 

Hundreds of National Guardsmen are patrolling the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, securing D.C. days ahead of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' inauguration ceremonies.

By Inauguration Day, officials estimate 20,000 National Guardsmen will be in the District. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned of threats to D.C., including to lawmakers and federal monuments, and the possibility of armed groups demonstrating in the city before and on Jan. 20.

Those threats, following the deadly U.S. Capitol riot one week ago where a pro-Trump mob overwhelmed police officers protecting the building, have evoked a security response far stronger than officials initially planned.

“We're not asking people to come to D.C. for this is a major security threat, and we are working to mitigate those threats,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said. "I remain concerned. I've been concerned before today will be for this weekend, and beyond."

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