Besides Oath Of Office, Nearly All Of Biden Inauguration Will Be Different Due To COVID

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: The stage for the Presidential inauguration is prepared outside the U.S. Capitol on December 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. More than 100 Republicans in the House of Representatives voiced ... WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: The stage for the Presidential inauguration is prepared outside the U.S. Capitol on December 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. More than 100 Republicans in the House of Representatives voiced their support for a pro-Trump election lawsuit in Texas as the state calls for the Supreme Court to delay the certification of election results in four battleground states that Vice President-elect Joe Biden won. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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December 15, 2020 1:22 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in to office on the steps of the Capitol next month, Biden’s planning committee confirmed on Tuesday.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said in a statement Tuesday that Biden and Harris would be sworn in at the west side of the Capitol on Jan. 20, in a “historic ceremony that includes vigorous health and safety protocols,” in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus which continues to surge around the country.

The President-elect will give an inaugural address laying out his vision to beat the virus and unite the nation, the committee said in a statement announcing that the ceremony’s footprint would be “extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined.” 

While a small group will gather, the event will largely be conducted virtually, featuring people from across the country, in similar fashion to the roll call at the Democratic National Convention in August, the committee said.

It is unclear whether a traditional luncheon with members of Congress will be held after the swearing in.

Biden’s transition team is urging all Americans to stay at home, refrain from travel and to limit gatherings during the inauguration.

David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner who has been advising Biden on the coronavirus and who was named the inauguration’s chief medical adviser and is urging Americans to participate in the festivities from home, wear masks, and limit gatherings.

The group producing the events have helped put together the Democratic convention, and includes a team involved in coordinating the Super Bowl halftime shows and Tony Awards ceremonies.

The team has pressed the importance of creating an event that both honors tradition and can set the tone for the incoming administration. 

President Trump has not yet said whether or not he will attend the inauguration. 

“I don’t want to talk about that,” he told Fox News in an interview Sunday when hosts broached the question of his attendance.

Historically a tea takes place at the White House before the incoming and outgoing presidents ride together to the Capitol.

Maju Varghese, the executive director of the inauguration told the Washington Post in an interview that the planning team was continuing to work through logistics and would adapt to either scenario, but emphasized the importance of building a scene that celebrated the new administration. 

“What the American public wants to see that afternoon is the country coming around to mark the beginning of a new presidency — and we’re going to work to do that,” he said.

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