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Biden inauguration to feature scaled-back ceremony and festivities, organizers say

The footprint of the swearing-in ceremony will be limited, and the parade will be largely virtual, they said.
U.S. President-elect Biden meets with members of transition coronavirus advisory board in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris appear on video screens as they hold a virtual meeting with their Covid-19 advisory council in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 9, 2020.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn into office on Jan. 20 at the Capitol, their inauguration committee said Tuesday.

Biden and Harris will follow tradition and be sworn in at the Capitol’s West Front, but other parts of the celebration will be largely virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, the committee announced in a news release.

The footprint of the swearing-in ceremony will be "extremely limited" to ensure that officials and guests follow social-distancing and other safety protocols, the committee said.

The organizers also are urging the public to stay home rather than travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in inaugural activities in person.

While there will be a parade, it will be largely virtual in an effort to encourage people to remain at home instead of gathering in crowds. It’s unclear how the plan and other social-distancing and mask-wearing precautions will be enforced.

The inaugural committee said it has hired “seasoned production experts to put together a new and innovative program that provides opportunities for all Americans to participate safely in the inauguration.” They include Stephanie Cutter, Ricky Kirshner and Rod O’Connor and others who have helped produce previous inaugurations, Democratic National Conventions, Super Bowl halftime shows and the Tony Awards, the announcement said.

The news Tuesday comes after House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., who chairs the inaugural committee, said last week that 80 percent of the festivities would take place virtually.