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Public safety officials are asking spectators to leave large bags at home for this year's Boston Marathon.
That's part of new restrictions and security measures put in place after last year's bombing.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said they're asking the public to make it easy for security officials working the April 21 race by not carrying backpacks, over-the-shoulder bags, coolers or other bulky items, and leaving costumes or masks at home.
Items prohibited for spectators:
- Weapons or items of any kind that may be used as weapons, including firearms, knives, mace, etc.
- Backpacks or any similar item carried over the shoulder
- Suitcases and rolling bags/rollers
- Glass containers or cans
- Flammable liquids, fuels, fireworks or explosives
- Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid
- Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches
- Large blankets/comforters, duvets, sleeping bags
- Costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body
- Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear)
"If you are going to carry personal items, we ask and urge you to carry them in clear plastic bags," he said Monday during a news conference at the MEMA bunker in Framingham. "These simple guidelines, if followed, will comfort people, particularly in crowded, dense areas, and will help ensure the safety of the event."
In those particularly crowded areas, Schwartz added, spectators may have to pass through security checkpoints.
Schwartz also said spectators will notice more uniformed officers and bomb sniffing dogs than in previous years. There will also be more video surveillance as well as plainclothes officers specifically trained to detect suspicious activity.
Still, Schwartz said he felt the security plan — which is the product of more than seven months of work by more than 100 public safety officials — ensures that the public will "once again experience the marathon as a fun, festive and family-oriented day."
"Our primary goal is to preserve the traditional feel and character of the Boston Marathon," Schwartz said. "Our safety and security plan accomplishes this goal."
New security measures also affect runners, who will be barred from bringing bags to the starting line in Hopkinton.
Police are expecting about 36,000 runners and up to a million spectators at this year's race.