Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19
President Trump and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden will not shake hands at their first debate next week in Ohio due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, campaign sources told Politico.
The move is one of several adjustments the campaigns are ironing out to comply with social distances guidelines. An elbow-bump was considered but both campaigns decided that it would awkward.
Trump, Biden and Fox News host Chris Wallace — who is moderating the debate — will reportedly not be wearing masks. The president will stand to the right and Biden to the left at their respective podiums.
The audience will be limited to between 75 and 80 people, all of whom will be tested for COVID-19 before attending the debate.
The event will take place on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.
Unlike a traditional presidential debate, there will be no spin-room coverage afterwards. Instead, media will have to schedule virtual interviews with surrogates after the debate.
During a Democratic primary debate in March — when the coronavirus pandemic had begun impacting daily life in the U.S. — Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) participated in a debate in Washington with no audience while standing six feet apart.
The two men elbow-bumped in lieu of a handshake and were not wearing masks.