President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's inauguration committee is urging people to not travel and stay at home during the inauguration on January 20 due to the ongoing pandemic.
“The 59th Presidential Inauguration will be a historic and exciting event that showcases the strength and diversity of our nation — and one that every American can enjoy from their home," the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) said in a statement on December 15.
Earlier, on December 4, President-elect Biden told reporters "It is highly unlikely there’ll be a million people on the Mall going all the way down to the [Lincoln] Memorial.
“My guess is there probably will not be a gigantic inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
"I think you're going to see something that's closer to what the [Democratic National] convention was like than the typical inauguration," Biden said before adding he envisions "a lot of virtual activity in states across America engaging even more people than before.”
The statement from the PIC on Tuesday continued: “Today, in consultation with medical experts advising President-elect Joe Biden, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is announcing initial protocols to protect public health during the inauguration.
“In close coordination with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), PIC is working to ensure that the inauguration of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris honors and resembles sacred American traditions while keeping Americans safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“On January 20, 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. President-elect Biden will also deliver an inaugural address that lays out his vision to beat the virus, build back better, and bring the country together.
“The ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined. The PIC is urging the public to refrain from any travel and participate in the inaugural activities from home. Additional details will be released in the coming days and weeks in partnership with the JCCIC.
Tony Allen, the CEO of the PIC, said: “Our goal is to create an inauguration that keeps people safe, honors the grand traditions of the Presidency, and showcases the Biden-Harris Administration’s renewed American vision for an inclusive, equitable, and unified citizenry.”
The PIC also announced that Dr. David Kessler will join as PIC’s Chief Medical Advisor. Dr. Kessler is the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and counseled the Biden campaign on its health and safety protocol since the pandemic’s onset.
Dr. Kessler said: “The pandemic is continuing to have a significant public health impact across the nation. Americans everywhere must do their part to slow the spread of the virus: wear masks, stay home, and limit gatherings.
“We are asking Americans to participate in inaugural events from home to protect themselves, their families, friends, and communities.”
The PIC said it will consult with additional medical experts, and it has hired professional staff dedicated to health and safety protocols.
The PIC says also announced that it has “hired a team of seasoned production experts to put together a new and innovative program that provides opportunities for all Americans to participate safely in the inauguration, which will be announced in the coming weeks.”
Stephanie Cutter and Ricky Kirshner are joining as Executive Producers, and Rod O’Connor is joining as Senior Advisor. The trio brings with them a diverse group of award-winning professionals with decades of experience envisioning and producing some of the nation’s most-watched events, including Democratic National Conventions, presidential inaugurations, Super Bowl halftime shows, Tony Awards, and more.
Maju Varghese, the Executive Director of the PIC, said: “President-elect Biden’s unwavering commitment to the safety of the American people is our North Star as we plan an inauguration that protects public health while honoring inaugural traditions and engaging Americans across the country.
“We are excited to share more information soon about the new and innovative ways all Americans can watch and participate in a historic inauguration that will unify our country.”
The PIC will continue to announce further details about events and how Americans can participate as it becomes available in the coming weeks.
While the PIC says that plans are still under consideration for next month's event, it has been previously announced that Irish band The Chieftains and Irish violinist Patricia Treacey have been invited to perform.