The fanfare traditionally associated with opening day is expected to be cut back due to the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic, said President-elect Joe Biden.
With the number of COVID cases continuing to rise and states imposing restrictions, Biden’s Inauguration Committee is considering how to control the crowds that normally gather at the ball and along the parade route from the Capitol to the White House, NBC reported.
Committee will also look at the best way to hold smaller events in the hall that are normally an integral part of the day, such as the Congressional Luncheon in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall and the balls attended by the new President and First Lady.
Mr. Biden said he expects the event on January 20 to resemble the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was held virtually. He said the committee is in discussions with the House and Senate leadership on how to plan the celebrations.
“My guess is that there will probably not be a giant opening parade through Pennsylvania Avenue. But I suspect that there will be a lot of virtual activity in states across America that will draw even more people than before,” he told reporters during a press conference on Friday in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
“My primary concern is to make America safe and yet still allow people to celebrate,” he said, “to celebrate and to see each other celebrate.
“But I promise you that it will be available to many either virtually or in person, and my guess is that there will still be a platform ceremony, but I don’t know exactly how it will all go down. The key is people’s security,” he added.
To pay for the event, Biden has decided to accept up to $500,000 from individuals and up to $1 million from corporations, but no money from lobbyists, NBC reported.
Tony Allen, CEO of the Inaugural Committee, said in a statement that the day “will be different in the midst of the pandemic, but we will honor American inaugural traditions and involve Americans across the country while ensuring the health and safety of all.
Apart from the unprecedented pandemic, it seems likely that President Donald Trump will not attend the event. This means that the long-standing tradition of the incoming and outgoing presidents meeting at the White House and traveling together to the Capitol before the ceremony could be overturned.
Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that the election was marred by fraud, despite failed lawsuits. Should he fail to appear on January 20, he would be one of the few incumbents in history who would not witness his successor taking the oath of office.
The chart below, provided by Statista, shows how much money was spent during the elections of this century.