As we enter into a new presidential administration, one of its traditionally most glorious celebrations is completely altered because of the corona virus pandemic.
President-elect Biden’s transition team is urging all Americans to refrain from travel, stay at home, and to limit gatherings during the inauguration to stop the spread of the corona virus.
It is a strong probability that all the galas and balls, that are one of the highlights of this event, will be cancelled all together.
The parade down Pennsylvania Avenue will most likely occur but with distancing rules in place. The District has repaved the route in preparation.
The celebrity participation, which is a huge draw for an audience, will be virtual.
If people are still planning on coming to Washington DC for the event, there will be strict pandemic guidelines to travel and hotel accommodations.
The theme for this is “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union” and is organized by The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC).
Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is responsible for coordinating and funding the inauguration’s opening ceremonies, parades, galas and balls. Their role now has become a new historical marker.
Biden and Harris will be sworn in during a ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol, as per usual, but with pandemic social distancing rules in place.
They will be giving their inaugural address on the same platform as their swearing in ceremony.
President Trump has not indicated whether he will attend the inauguration or not, but all indications he will pass. His refusal to acknowledge that Biden won the election, and his continued attempts to throw millions of votes out so that he can stay in office, indicates his response.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” Trump said when asked if he would attend the inauguration.
By tradition, the outgoing president always welcomes his successor to the White House on the morning of the inauguration ceremony, as did President Barack Obama did for President-elect Trump in 2017.
Biden’s team acknowledged that they are fairly sure that tradition will be broken this year.
If Trump does not participate, he would be the first president to decline since President Andrew Johnson refused to participate in the inauguration of his successor, Ulysses S. Grant, in 1869, said Jim Bendat, an inaugural historian and author of the book “Democracy’s Big Day.”
Spokespeople for former presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Obama have not responded to requests on whether they will be attending.
The traditional host for inaugural balls, The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, will be unavailable for festivities in January. It is now an emergency field hospital in preparation for a surge in corona virus cases.
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), chairman of Biden’s inaugural committee, suggested that a more complete celebration of Biden’s presidency could occur July 4.
Usually, the JCCIC makes 200,000 tickets available to members of Congress to hand out to constituents for the ceremony, but this year each member of Congress may attend with a single guest.
The entire event will be available online and will be televised, but if you are planning on coming to Washington DC to attend the celebration, the JCCIC is asking that everyone be tested before traveling, and always wear your masks to all events.