President Joe Biden will have a chance to exercise his empathy skills during a visit to Houston on Friday, February 26 with a dual mission. He'll be surveying damage caused by severe winter weather and encouraging people to get their coronavirus shots.
Biden and his wife, Jill, are traveling for the president's first trip to a major disaster site since he took office a little over a month ago. Severe winter weather across the South over Valentine's Day weekend battered multiple states. Texas bore the brunt of unseasonably frigid conditions that caused widespread power outages, burst pipes and flooded homes. Millions of residents lost heat and running water.
The president is expected to visit the Houston Food Bank and meet with local leaders to discuss the storm, relief efforts and progress toward recovery. He is to be accompanied by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Biden also plans to visit the mass coronavirus vaccination center run by the federal government at NRG Park. Biden on Thursday, February 25 commemorated the 50 millionth COVID-19 vaccination since he took office, halfway toward his goal of 100 million shots by his 100th day in office.
That celebration followed a moment of silence to mark the passage earlier this week of 500,000 U.S. deaths blamed on the disease.
Traffic around the city will be impacted as the president and other dignitaries are escorted from point to point. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo sent out a warning that there would be impacts on some roads.
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The visit also impacts donation procedures and volunteer schedules at the Houston Food Bank. The organization canceled walk-up volunteering and food drive drop offs at its East Branch location from 8 am to 4 pm Friday.
In addition to NRG Park and the Houston Food Bank, the president is also scheduled to tour the Harris County Emergency Operations Center.
Friday's visit isn't Biden's first trip to Houston. The then-former Vice President attended the funeral of Former President George H.W. Bush in 2018.
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