WASHINGTON — Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects to the late President George H.W. Bush as he lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, which opens to the public on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know if you are planning to visit the U.S. Capitol:
The public viewing will continue from Monday evening through Tuesday, and end at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The state funeral for the former president — which is not open to the public — will be on Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.
All visitors who come to the Capitol the will enter through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, after waiting in line on 1st Street NE, between Independence and Constitution avenues. Be prepared for lines to be long, and road closures nearby mean there’s little to no parking.
The closest Metro stops are Capitol South, Federal Center SW and Union Station.
You may enter the Capitol with a cellphone, but it must be turned off. Photos and electronic devices are not allowed while visitors are in the Rotunda. Also note that flowers, sealed envelopes and other offerings or tokens will not be allowed inside the Capitol Visitor Center or the Capitol.
U.S. Capitol Police recommend that those attending bring as few items as possible, so that security screening won’t be slowed down.
All of these items are prohibited in the Capitol and on its grounds:
- Firearms, dangerous weapons, explosives, or incendiary devices including replica guns and ammunition.
- Weapons (to include but not limited to): Black jack, sling shot, sand club, sandbag, knuckles, electric stun guns, knives (of any size), martial arts weapons or devices.
- Pointed objects to include but not limited to razors, box cutters, knives, knitting needles, letter openers. Pens and pencils are permitted.
- Explosives and explosive devices to include Molotov Cocktails, components of a destructive device, and fireworks.
- Bags exceeding the size of 18 inches wide x 14 inches high x 8.5 inches deep.
- Mace and pepper spray.
- Liquid, including water; open and empty clear or translucent bottles and beverage containers are allowed.
- Aerosol containers.
- Non-Aerosol spray except for prescribed medical needs.
- Sealed envelopes and packages.
As of Monday, public tours of the Capitol and Capitol Visitor Center are closed until 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6.
Also, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony scheduled for Wednesday has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 on the West Front of the Capitol.
Residents and workers around the District are also advised to keep an eye on how the viewing, services and motorcade will impact traffic. In the words of police Chief Peter Newsham: “If people pay close attention to the road closures, they will be less likely to get caught up in the traffic that we assume this will create.”
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