Philadelphia's Independence Mall closed for Joe Biden's Inauguration

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It certainly didn't seem like Inauguration Day on Philadelphia's Independence Mall: all the buildings were closed and you could only see the Liberty Bell through a window.

The closures were disappointing for tourists.

"It is sad though to see such a historical city close down on such an important day," said Alessia Jones, of Northern Virginia.

"It would have been great to see the mall open and people celebrating," Mike Shillenn of Old City said.

However, neighbors and tourists alike say, given the states of things, it had to happen for safety's sake.

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"After everything with the Capitol and basically everything that's been happening leading up to this and safety of the people, it was necessary," Jones said.

Jack Tomarchio, a former Deputy Undersecretary of Homeland Security, agreed.

He said on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., it made total sense to close the mall here in Philadelphia.

Tomarchio said it also made sense to beef up security in state capitals like Harrisburg and in Trenton as well.

"As someone once said in the Civil War: you got to hit them where they ain't. It was the appropriate thing to do, the prudent thing to do. It would have been malpractice if they didn't do it," he said.

He also believes the enormous amount of security brought into the nation's capital was necessary to keep the inauguration safe.

"There was a lot of chatter, we've heard that before from the old days of al Qaeda, lot of chatter. There was chatter some people were going to do some stuff. It was the exact right thing to do," Tomarchio said.

He said vetting each of the 25,000 National Guard troops had to be done as well.

"When you're bringing in 25,000 folks from around the country, guardsman, you have to make sure you're dealing with people that can be trusted, and of course 12 of them were pulled out," Tomarchio said.
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