HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday ordered the Pennsylvania Capitol closed for two days next week around the swearing-in of three statewide officials and the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The complex is already closed to the general public because of the coronavirus pandemic, and most Capitol employees under Wolf’s jurisdiction currently work remotely. But the new order advises employees who report to work in person to take the days off.
“While we are not aware of any specific threats at this time, we want to act with an abundance of caution to keep employees safe,” Wolf’s Office of Administration said on its website.
Next Tuesday will be the swearing-in of three statewide elected officials: Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Auditor General-elect Tim DeFoor and Treasurer-elect Stacy Garrity. Biden is being inaugurated Wednesday in Washington.
Meanwhile, the state Senate said its offices will close for five days, starting Saturday through Wednesday.
The agency that protects the Pennsylvania Capitol is bolstering security measures, adding police officers inside and out and erecting barriers in recent days, in light of last week’s violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Police continue to monitor the potential for violence or unrest in Harrisburg, said Troy Thompson, a spokesperson for the Department of General Services.
State capitols around the United States have heightened security after the attack in Washington. The FBI has warned there are calls for armed protests at state capitals and in Washington on Sunday and ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
Waist-high orange plastic barriers were in place at several spots around the Capitol on Thursday morning, keeping pedestrians away from walkways and side doors. Two heavily armed officers were stationed outside, and another was patrolling hallways in the largely vacant Main Capitol.
The state police and Capitol Police plan to discuss preparations during an online news conference later Thursday.
(©Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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