Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will look different than past ceremonies.
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural committee is urging the public not to travel to D.C. for the Jan. 20 ceremony amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and instead participate from home.
"Our goal is to create an inauguration that keeps people safe, honors the grand traditions of the Presidency, and showcases the Biden-Harris Administration's renewed American vision for an inclusive, equitable, and unified citizenry," the Presidential Inaugural Committee's CEO, Tony Allen, said in a press release on Tuesday.
The PIC said the ceremony, during which Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office at the U.S. Capitol, will include strict health and safety protocols, and that its "footprint will be extremely limited." The parade following the ceremony will also be "reimagined," per the release.
The PIC also announced that former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler would join as its chief medical advisor. Kessler also counseled Biden's campaign on health and safety protocols.
The committee has also hired staff dedicated to health and safety measures, and a team of production experts that will create a "new and innovative" program with opportunities for people to safely participate in the inauguration.
Earlier this month, Biden said at a press conference it is "highly unlikely" that millions will gather on the National Mall for the ceremony next month. "The key is, keeping people safe," he said.
Normally, the District would be readying itself for an event that can bring around two million people to the city, but Biden's team has been signaling for weeks that the event would be smaller than in the past.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during an appearance on the Kojo Nnamdi Show this month that she didn't know exactly what activities will take place for the inauguration, but she expressed doubt that circumstances of the pandemic would be any different by then.
At a recent D.C Council breakfast, Chairman Phil Mendelson also said he told the mayor's office that he opposed having the traditional viewing stand in front of the Wilson Building this time around.
"In this year of social distancing, and with the pandemic numbers looking worse, do we really want a confined space in front of the Wilson Building — where, if I remember correctly, no members showed up last time?" Mendelson said, per the Washington Post. (Only three members of the council attended in 2016).
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which is currently serving as an emergency COVID-19 field hospital, will not host any inaugural balls, either. The PIC said Tuesday that more details would be released in the coming weeks.
This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.