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President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee on Tuesday asked supporters not to visit Washington, DC, for his inauguration next month and teased a “reimagined” parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden, 78, will give a traditional speech when he takes office Jan. 20, but key details remain unclear, including public access to the National Mall and whether there will be evening balls as is traditional.
“President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris will take their oaths of office at the U.S. Capitol during a historic ceremony that includes vigorous health and safety protocols,” the inaugural committee confirmed in a Tuesday press release.
“The ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined. The [committee] is urging the public to refrain from any travel and [to] participate in the inaugural activities from home.”
Biden says he will use his speech to encourage voluntary mask wearing for 100 days.
For weeks, construction crews have built wooden inaugural parade viewing stands immediately north of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Ordinarily, presidents join a parade from the Capitol to the White House.
In addition to the pandemic and the incoming president’s advanced age, a bitter post-election series of recounts and lawsuits may end inauguration traditions. It’s unclear if President Trump, who has not conceded, will attend the events or host his successor at the White House beforehand.
But in keeping with tradition, the inaugural committee is expected to be awash in cash from major businesses seeking to win favor with the new administration.
Boeing, which announced 7,000 layoffs in October after cutting 19,000 jobs this summer, reportedly pledged $1 million to the celebration.
David Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, will advise the committee on health steps, according to the release.
The celebration’s executive producers will be Democratic political veteran Stephanie Cutter and Ricky Kirshner, who is well known for Super Bowl halftime show production. Rod O’Connor will be a senior adviser, the committee said.
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