The U.S. Capitol is considered fenced off as preparations are underway to build the stage in the Capitol for inaguration on Monday, November 9, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration planning team on Tuesday urged Americans to stay home and watch this year’s opening ceremonies on television as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.
“We are asking Americans to attend opening events from their homes to protect themselves, their families, friends and communities,” said Dr. David Kessler, Chief Medical Officer of the President’s Inaugural Committee.
In keeping with tradition, the committee said that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oath of office on January 20 on a traditional dais erected on the western front of the US Capitol for the occasion.
But the footprint of the ceremony will be extremely limited and everything else on that day will be different, they said in a statement. The traditional crowds of the National Mall, the opening parade from the Capitol to the White House, and the opening balls and festivities will be “reinterpreted” for a virtual audience.
“The PIC urges the public not to travel and participate in the opening activities from home,” the committee said.
The scaled-down events will incorporate the same principles that guided the planning and execution of Biden’s presidential campaign for the past nine months, putting public health and social distancing before tradition and pomp.
However, it is unclear to what extent Biden’s supporters will heed the advice of his opening planners and miss the opportunity to celebrate the end of the Trump administration and the oath of a Democratic president and vice president.
Biden won more votes than any presidential candidate in American history in the November election. After four years of polarizing leadership by President Donald Trump, there is a palpable desire among Trump’s opponents to celebrate his January 20th resignation.
The PIC also announced Tuesday that former Obama election worker Stephanie Cutter and Emmy Award-winning television producer Ricky Kirshner have joined the opening committee as executive producers. As Senior Advisor, Rod O’Connor joins the team who led the effort to create and produce the virtual Democratic National Convention last summer.