Not a good time to visit the capitol……
Whatever you do next week, don’t try driving near the Capitol while Pope Francis is in town.
That’s because all streets within a three-block radius of the Capitol will be closed from midnight Thursday until noon while Francis speaks before a joint meeting of Congress.
Street closures are among multiple security measures Capitol Police announced Monday as part of its preparations for the pontiff’s visit to Washington.
All guests with tickets for the West Front while Francis visits Capitol Hill will have to undergo bag searches as part of the security screening. Prohibited items include the usual weapons and alcoholic beverages, as well as strollers, metal containers and large bags (no more than 18 by 14 by 8.5 inches).
Tourists visiting D.C. will also have to leave their selfie sticks at home if they will be on the West Front during the pope’s visit.
Members of the public who are not attending Francis’s address will also be affected. Public and staff-led tours of the Capitol will be suspended starting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and won’t resume until 1 p.m. on Sept. 24. The Capitol building will close entirely to the general public starting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 22 for security sweeps of the entire complex.
Francis is expected to arrive at the Capitol around 9:15 a.m. on Sept. 22 and begin his speech at 10 a.m. The Capitol building will open at 5 a.m. that morning, according to a Sergeant-at-Arms memo provided to The Hill.