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Paying respects to Elijah Cummings at the Capitol? Here’s what you need to know

Crowds expected to honor the late Democratic congressman from Baltimore

A memorial for the late House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
A memorial for the late House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The public can pay its respects on Thursday, Oct. 24, as Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings lies in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Public viewing will follow a private ceremony at 11 a.m.

How to attend

Visitors must enter through the Capitol Visitor Center on the East Front of the Capitol. Attendees can start lining up Thursday morning on First Street Northwest and Southwest, between Constitution and Independence avenues, or on Second Street Northeast and Southeast, between East Capitol Street and Independence Avenue Southeast.

The Capitol will be open to the public starting at 1 p.m. Before that time, entry to the Capitol will be restricted to members of Congress, spouses, invited dignitaries, staff and credentialed guests and media from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Visitor protocol

Patience will be key for those standing in line. Security screenings and paying respects both take time, and high attendance is expected.

Capitol Police warn members of the public wishing to pay their respects to be prepared for any weather conditions, as lines to enter the Capitol will be queuing outside. (Heat and humidity took a toll on those in line when Arizona Sen. John McCain lay in state last year in the Rotunda, resulting in multiple people collapsing and Capitol Police responding to medical emergencies.)

Visitor phones and other electronic devices must be turned off while inside the Capitol. Photography and recording will not be allowed for visitors in Statuary Hall.

Certain items are not allowed in the Capitol or on its grounds. U.S. Capitol Police have advised visitors to bring as few items as they can to make security screening as quick as possible. Flowers, envelopes and other offerings will not be allowed into the Capitol or Capitol Visitor Center.

Visitors hoping to honor Cummings with flowers, flags or other mementos should find another way. Capitol Police will not tolerate makeshift memorials because of security concerns.

Banned items include:

  • Firearms, including replica guns and ammunition.
  • Pointed objects including but not limited to: razors, box cutters, knives, knitting needles, letter openers. (Pens and pencils are permitted.)
  • Large bags.
  • Liquid, including water.
  • See the U.S. Capitol Police website for a full list.

Street closures

Closures are expected to be in effect from Wednesday, Oct. 23, beginning at 8 p.m. to approximately 2 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 25. The affected streets are:

  • East Capitol Street Northeast and Southeast, from Second Street Northeast and Southeast to First Street Northeast and Southeast.
  • First Street Northeast and Southeast from Constitution Avenue Northeast to Independence Avenue Southeast.
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