As Washington, DC, still reels from the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, it also prepares for the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Photos this week show the city mounting unprecedented preparations against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest. In a city usually known for its open space and abundance of tourists, many of the scenes are shocking, revealing a capital on edge. 

The National Guard expects to send 20,000 members in for Inauguration Day. There is a new 7-foot fence surrounding the Capitol, one that officials say cannot be scaled. And there’s a massive perimeter around the White House extending all the way up to K Street and down to Constitution Avenue.

The National Mall will reportedly be closed to the general public, a major change from the scene where typically thousands would gather to watch the new president being sworn in. And the restaurants and souvenir shops that are usually preparing for a swarm of tourists are boarding up windows and fretting about dismal profits this month.   

Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

Weapons are distributed to members of the National Guard outside the US Capitol on Wednesday, a week after the riot. 

MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

Barricades partially block the intersection of 15th and K Street NW near the White House.

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Military trucks are stationed behind perimeter fencing Thursday near Union Station on Capitol Hill.


Razor wire is installed atop a security fence near the U.S. Capitol. 

MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

Workers erect security fencing at an intersection near the White House.

Erin Scott/Reuters

Workers board up the International Monetary Fund building near the White House.

Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

A “Military Only” sign is displayed at an entrance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

DANIEL SLIM via Getty Images

Extensive road closures are seen on a street near the White House.

Dmitry Kirsanov via Getty Images

The street going toward offices of the U.S. Department of the Treasury is blocked.

Dmitry Kirsanov via Getty Images

Security measures outside the Willard Office Building.

Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

A TV reporter films a segment in front of military vehicles near the US Capitol.

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