SAN FRANCISCO - The 2023 APEC Summit begins in San Francisco Saturday and on the eve of the big event, traffic around the city's Moscone Center already was backing up, as drivers saw a preview of the crowds and crowded streets expected for the seven-day summit.
Senior officials from the 21 member economies are already in town preparing for big meetings Saturday and Sunday to start off the summit.
The finance ministers are scheduled to convene on Monday. The heads of state are expected to hold their high-level summit talks Wednesday through Friday with thousands of CEOs and other attendees holding side meetings.
Inside the Moscone Center, construction crews were working late Friday evening to build stages and meeting areas for the tens of thousands of people expected to arrive.
Bay Area union members are glad for the work.
"On this job alone, we have 200 or more people just working through just our local and it's not just our local, there's other ones such as Local 510 they deal with signage, carpets," said Jeff Bordessa, a carpenter and member of IATSE Local 16.
Volunteers also arrived to pick up their badges and official APEC t-shirts. Many are bilingual Bay Area residents who will be volunteering to welcome visitors.
"I live here for a long time and being Thai I would like to be able to volunteer," said Prapakarn Johnston, a volunteer from Fremont.
"My role will be translations, interpretations, make sure the security is good here. Welcoming people from other countries and show them San Francisco," said Ueakarn Jansaengchot, a volunteer who was born in Thailand and now lives in San Francisco.
All day, San Francisco was buzzing with preparations. Police were visibly present, along with tall security barriers that now line the streets and sidewalks along the perimeter of the high security zone near the main summit site at the Moscone Center.
Access will be limited south of Market Street, as well as around Nob Hill, where President Biden often stays at the Fairmont Hotel.
At SFO, delegates were already arriving. The assistant to the Malaysian Prime Minister and his team flew in Friday morning.
Some businesses in downtown San Francisco are boarding up windows as a precaution in case protests get out of hand.
At the Metreon, crews unloaded giant boards and expected to work through the night to cover all the glass windows.
At Union Square the Westin St. Francis hotel manager says all of their sister properties under Marriott are fully booked.
"We're starting to see the arrivals right now and through the weekend, and the biggest part of the arrivals is on November 14th, and we'll be fully occupied at that time," said Clifton Clark, Area General Manager for the Westin St. Francis.