Biden inauguration planners urge Americans to watch ceremony from home
The organizers planning President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration said Tuesday that next month’s event will include strict health and safety protocols and a “reimagined” parade in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee is urging Americans to avoid traveling and to watch the activities from their homes. Organizers also announced that David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner who advised Biden’s campaign on COVID-19, would serve as chief medical adviser to the inaugural committee.
“The pandemic is continuing to have a significant public health impact across the nation. Americans everywhere must do their part to slow the spread of the virus: wear masks, stay home, and limit gatherings,” Kessler said.
“We are asking Americans to participate in inaugural events from home to protect themselves, their families, friends, and communities,” he said.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris plan to take their oaths of office in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol that is expected to have an extremely limited footprint to prevent crowding during the pandemic.
“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 Tony Allen, the committee’s chief executive officer.
The committee also announced that it is bringing on Stephanie Cutter and Ricky Kirshner as executive producers and Rod O’Connor as senior adviser as the planning for the unusual festivities gets underway. All three individuals helped produce the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The announcement follows remarks from Biden earlier this month signaling that the inauguration on Jan. 20 would look similar to the all-virtual convention in August.
“It is highly unlikely there’ll be a million people on the Mall going all the way down to the Memorial,” Biden told reporters at a news conference in Wilmington, Del.
“I think you’re going to see something that’s closer to what the convention was like than the typical inauguration,” he continued.
Coronavirus cases are currently surging across the country, and health experts fear that the current spike could worsen following the holidays. The United States has now recorded more than 300,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
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