US civil servants urged to work from home during Pope visit

The US government has advice for civil servants facing monstrous traffic and security challenges when Pope Francis visits Washington this month: work from home, or even not at all.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 03, 2015, 11:03 AM IST

Washington: The US government has advice for civil servants facing monstrous traffic and security challenges when Pope Francis visits Washington this month: work from home, or even not at all.

The city with a reputation for shutting down in a panic at the first hint of a snowflake in winter is determined to keep operating smoothly when the pontiff visits from September 22-24, before heading to New York and Philadelphia.

"The Federal Government in the Washington, DC, area will remain `OPEN` during these 3 days," the Office of Personnel Management said in a memo released Tuesday.

It urged federal agencies to let their employees work from home during the papal visit so as to dodge longer than usual commute times, reduce traffic and let police concentrate better on providing security.

Such agencies might also let workers switch their days off to avoid the visit, take unpaid leave or use up vacation time or days off they have accrued, the office said.

The Pope is popular in America and expected to draw huge crowds in the three cities he will visit.