Chinese President Xi Jinping is heading to Seattle on Tuesday for the first stop of his whirlwind U.S. tour. The dignitary will expectedly do many dignitary-esque things during his visit to the Emerald City -- dinners, speeches and round-table discussions.
He'll also be responsible for the closure of nearly nine city blocks.
Xi will be staying at the Westin hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle for two nights, The Seattle Times reports. In an effort to ensure the president's safety, a block-wide perimeter will be set up around the hotel for the duration of the visit, forcing nearly two dozen bus routes and all car traffic to detour around the area.
Any pedestrian wishing to access their office building or walk on the closed streets will be required to pass through a security checkpoint.
“With an international visit of this stature and the accompanying federal security requirements, we want all travelers to be advised of the impacts to business as usual," Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement. "Everyone needs to be patient, re-evaluate their commute plans, add in extra travel time, and monitor traffic alerts for the latest information.”
A similar effort has been made for Pope Francis' visit to New York next week. An entire street will be cordoned off with concrete barriers, sand-filled trucks and police details. Any non-papal residents will be subject to an ID checkpoint, screening and searching to get into their own homes, the New York Post notes.
Xi is in Seattle to meet with U.S. business executives and will tour a Boeing manufacturing plant in Everett in an effort to emphasize a growing trade relationship between the two countries. He'll also likely be hosted by Microsoft founder Bill Gates at his home.
Security is at the forefront of Chinese officials' minds, The New York Times reports. They declined several photo-op events, including a visit to a Starbucks coffee shop in Seattle, out of safety concerns.
Looks like we'll have to wait a while to see a foreign dignitary sip a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
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