Downtown Beijing will grind to a halt as major roads are sealed off, and shops and office buildings shut for the last rehearsal of the massive parade to mark the People's Republic of China's 60th birthday. As preparations for the celebration on October 1 reach their peak, today is the first time a good part of the operations will be frozen on a work day. The previous two rehearsals took place at the weekend and roads were only cordoned off at night. The traffic control and security measures surpass even those in force during the Olympic Games last year. Major roads from the far east side of the city to the west, and central areas surrounding Tiananmen Square, will be closed intermittently today and tomorrow. Public transport will provide a limited service. Subway trains would not stop at the stations that serve as transfer points along Line 1, which runs east and west through the city's central axis and passes Tiananmen Square, the Beijing Times reported. At 3pm, all westbound services on Line 1 will stop. From 4pm, services will run in both directions between Fuxingmen and Pingguoyuan stations. Car parks in dozens of streets surrounding Tiananmen Square will be closed from 2.30pm until the end of the rehearsal, and vehicles have to be removed beforehand. Schoolchildren will enjoy a half-day break today, and the government suggested firms and government departments close for at least half a day, according to a notice issued by the municipal government. In a leaflet distributed to residents and businesses in the Jianwai area of the central business district, police called on shops near major roads to close before 1pm. Residents and office workers are advised to stay in their buildings between 1pm and 7.30pm, and they are barred from opening windows. More stringent controls will be imposed on buildings along Changan Avenue as residents would be barred from leaving them during the afternoon. Curious citizens who wish to catch a glimpse of the vehicles and military weaponry on display were prohibited from gathering along those streets today, the leaflets said Office workers yesterday hailed a half-day off from work, but shop owners affected by the arrangements lamented the loss of business. 'The government said we should lend help to the 60th anniversary celebration, but who is going to lend us help?' a hair salon owner who gave only her surname, Liang, said. 'Why should we be supportive? It is causing us a lot of trouble.' A computer programmer, surnamed Tian, said she was thrilled by the unexpected half-day break. 'It was such a nice surprise. I don't mind all the inconvenience as long as I don't have to work,' she said. At Beijing Capital International Airport, a facial recognition system had been installed as part of security measures ahead of the anniversary, Xinhua reported yesterday. Starting from Sunday, all workers at the airport will have to pass through the system.