The Presidential Inaugural Committee, which consists of prominent Democrats helping to organize next month’s inauguration, are encouraging Americans to stay away from DC and watch the inauguration from home.
The quadrennial inauguration of a president and vice president is typically attended by hundreds of thousands. The committee says in light of the pandemic, a large gathering should be avoided.
While the committee said details will be released in the coming days, inauguration organizers said that the ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited.
"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,” said PIC CEO Tony Allen in a statement.
While the organizers did not say the inauguration parade would be canceled, organizers said it would be “re-imagined.”
Earlier this month, President-elect Joe Biden said he envisioned an inauguration akin to the virtual Democratic National Convention, which was held in August.
"First and foremost in my objective is to keep America safe but still allow people to celebrate," Biden said. "To celebrate and see one another celebrating."
Other Inauguration Day events, such as the signing ceremony and luncheon the new president has with congressional leaders, are still unknown. As of now, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies is unaware of any restrictions related to the pandemic. Those wishing to get a spot to view Biden’s inauguration can still request tickets to the event through their member of Congress.
Another sign that the pomp and circumstance of this year’s inauguration will look different is this could be the first time in US history that a presidential inauguration fails to result in a smooth transfer of power. Outgoing President Donald Trump has continued to allege the election was stolen from him despite dozens of failed lawsuits and no formal prosecutions of widespread fraud.
It has been a long-standing tradition that the incoming and outgoing president meet at the White House and travel to the Capitol together before the inauguration.
On Monday, Biden issued his strongest condemnation of Trump’s refusal to concede the election.
"It is my sincere hope we never again see anyone subjected to the kind of threats and abuse we saw in this election. It's simply unconscionable. We owe these public servants a debt of gratitude. They didn't seek the spotlight, you know, and our democracy survived because of them,” Biden said.