Secret Service limits sidewalk access south of White House

A view of the White House through a surrounding fence

A view of the White House through a surrounding fence

Beginning at 11 p.m. Wednesday night, tourists and passersby will be barred from the sidewalk bordering the South Lawn, according to a USA Today report.

The new restrictions were put in place in 2015 for overnight hours, between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The stretch of pavement along the south fence has been closed each night - between 11pm and 6am - since 2015.

The trespasser breached the grounds while the president was in the Washington mansion, managing to climb over an outer perimeter fence, scale a vehicle gate and hop another fence near the southeast corner of the White House's East Wing before he was captured.

Spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan says the Secret Service has to balance security with public access. More highly symbolic First Amendment space is gone.

The closure follows several recent incidents of incursions into the White House grounds by trespassers who have managed to scale the White House fence.

In Washington DC, the Secret Service announced plans on Wednesday to widen the safety perimeter around the White House grounds. The measure creates a buffer zone between the White House fence and onlookers, pushing crowds back to the north edge of the Ellipse park.

Passers-by will still be able to see and take photographs of the White House and its grounds.

Joe Casey, another Secret Service spokesman, said the security changes were part of an "evolving" strategy to better "mitigate potential threats".

The White House has always been an attraction for tourists and demonstrators, though the specific security outside the building and its grounds have shifted over the years.

Up until May 1995, traffic plied on Pennsylvania Avenue right in front of the White House, a road which once saw tramcars - and horse drawn carriages before that. An advisory committee had recommended closing the street after security breaches that included a man firing a rifle into the building from the sidewalk and a small plane crashing on the grounds.

Members of the public have been banned from the pavement along the south side of the White House amid security concerns.