After twelve days of constant occupation by opponents of Governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill, the Wisconsin state
Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs announced Friday that the Wisconsin State Capitol will return to normal business hours on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. when it will close to allow for cleaning. The Capitol will re-open on Monday for normal business hours starting at 8:00 a.m. As has been done all this week, Capitol Police will be monitoring the number of people in the building. Capitol Police officials have spoken with and worked closely with the organizers of protest groups at the Capitol, who have agreed to voluntarily remove their items from the building.
“We are closing the Capitol for a short period of time for public health reasons, as well as for general building maintenance,” Chief Tubbs said. “Everyone agrees that our State Capitol is a source of pride for our state and that we should take a break to take care of the building. People have been very respectful of the building, law enforcement and staff to this point. Since the beginning, protest organizers have worked very cooperatively with law enforcement. Based on discussions with them about the need to return to normal business hours, Capitol Police is anticipating that a thorough cleaning can begin at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. As always, the top priority of Capitol Police is ensuring the safety of everyone at the Capitol. I thank everyone in advance for their cooperation.”
Preparations for the return to normal business hours will begin today. Protestors are being asked to remove all large items from the rotunda and hallways that could be fire hazards including:
Folding tables and chairs
Electrical items such as extension cords
Cooking appliances like crock pots
Coolers and other food storage devices
Easels and boxes
Beginning Saturday, people will not be allowed to carry blankets or sleeping bags into the building. Capitol Police officials and protest organizers have also agreed that individuals should remove and take with them any signs that they wish to keep. Doors have been locking every night since protests began to ensure the safety of those staying inside. Tonight, doors will lock at 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and protestors will be allowed to remain on the ground and first floors of the building.
Any items left in the building after 4:00 p.m. Sunday will be taken to a designated lost and found within the Capitol for people to claim. People should claim their items before Friday, March 4, 2011 before 6:00 p.m.
On Monday, the building will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and cleaning crews will continue their work throughout the day. Normal business hours (Mon.-Fri. 8:00 am – 6:00 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) will continue thereafter.