WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Downtown D.C. and Capitol Hill look different than ever before, with security fences surrounding monuments, the National Mall and federal buildings, armed officers at nearly every turn and road/parking closures leading to several detours.
The enhanced safety procedures come as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gets help from the federal government to prepare for Inauguration Day, and are impacting locals.
Two downtown residents stopped to talk to WDVM reporter Lex Juarez on an afternoon run. They said because of various road closures, it took them 10 extra minutes to get to their typical running path. Kevin Keene said, “It just feels very tumultuous, you know. Like between normality and not. I mean, I guess we’re used to it after the last year, but every day, every week is like, what’s going on now? What’s the state of the city?”
Over the course of the last week, the two said they’ve put extra thought into their clothing before leaving their homes. Philip Badler said, “Especially last week, I was way more conscious of that and not wearing anything that would make me seem like a super lefty or anything, because I don’t want to get heckled or spat on. I don’t know what they would do.”
The two said that seeing the changes around downtown and Capitol Hill is sad, because although they feel safe with the increased law enforcement, it makes them remember why the changes are being put in place in the first place. They also said they have plans to just stay home and watch the Inauguration on television in order to stay safe.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking non-essential workers to stay away from downtown during the time of public emergency.