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Federal employees encouraged to work from home during papal visit

Pope Francis waves to faithful as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Federal employees are encouraged to work from home to avoid crowds and traffic during the Pope's visit to D.C. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

WASHINGTON — Increased security, crowds of tourists and traffic jams are among the reasons federal employees are encouraged to work from home during the Pope’s visit to D.C. this month.

In a memo from the Office of Personnel Management, Acting Director Beth Cobert asked agencies to let their employees telecommute as a way of avoiding the crowds.

If employees must come in, Cobert recommends that they add extra travel time to get to and from the office.

“Employees are encouraged to monitor local news media for announcements on street closures for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, closures or disruptions to public transportation, building closures, or any possible changes to the Washington, D.C. area Federal Government operating status,” the memo says.

Bottom line: “The Pope made me late” is not going to fly.

Pope Francis will visit D.C. for three days, from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24. His itinerary includes a visit to the White House on Sept. 23, and to Capitol Hill on the 24, where he will deliver a joint address to Congress. The pope will also visit religious sites in the area during his time in D.C. He will leave for New York on Sept. 24 from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. His official schedule is available here.

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