What to Expect for MLK Day and Inauguration Week 2021

The next week promises to be an unusual one, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Inauguration Day prompting government buildings and services in the Tysons area to close or change their operations.

With the Washington, D.C., region bracing for potential violence before President-elect Joe Biden gets sworn into office, the City of Falls Church is taking the most aggressive approach, closing public facilities from MLK Day (Monday, Jan. 18) through Inauguration Day (Wednesday, Jan. 20) Jan. 18-20.

The Mary Riley Styles Public Library will not provide curbside pick-up services starting on Sunday through Wednesday, but the community center will still hold scheduled activities and programs on Tuesday.

“Closing City facilities to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday is out of an abundance of caution for the Inauguration Day activities,” Falls Church City Police Chief Mary Gavin said. “Doing so allows our officers to prepare and react to events within the City and the region, if a response is needed.”

Fairfax County and the Town of Vienna will both close government offices, including the Vienna Community Center, on Monday and Wednesday, but operations will be normal on Tuesday. Waste collection services will also continue as usual for both county and town residents.

Fairfax County Public Schools is observing MLK Day and Inauguration Day as holidays with no classes or meal service for students who get food through the school system. Bus routes and Grab and Go locations will provide three days of meals today and two days’ worth on Tuesday, when meal kit sites will also be open.

While the McLean Community Center will be closed on MLK Day as well as Inauguration Day, MCC has been commemorating the civil rights leader with its annual MLK Day Celebration, which is taking place online this year with a book talk, podcast discussion series, and storytelling community service project.

People looking for more active ways to mark the MLK Day holiday can visit a Fairfax County RECenter or park, which will be open with the exception of historic sites, the Frying Pan Farm Park visitor center, and the Green Spring Gardens historic house.

The National Park Service is also holding its first fee-free day of the year on Jan. 18, providing free admission to all of its venues, including Great Falls Park in McLean.

The two occasions will affect transit service as well.

Fairfax Connector will operate according to a holiday weekday schedule on Jan. 18. The county bus system announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily suspending service for two routes that go into downtown D.C. through Jan. 20 due to road closures related to the presidential inauguration.

For MLK Day, Metro will operate rail and buses on a Saturday schedule. Trains will run every 15-20 minutes on all lines except for the Red Line, which will have trains every 12-15 minutes. Stations will be open from 5 a.m.-11 p.m. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all facilities.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced on Jan. 13 that it will close several stations and detour bus routes in downtown D.C. starting today through Jan. 21 to accommodate a security perimeter for the inauguration.

Photo via René DeAnda on Unsplash

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