While workers are busily putting together the grandstands on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol for next month’s Inauguration of Joe Biden as President, Congressional officials have made the decision to drastically limit the size of the event because of the Coronavirus.
In a statement, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said “this global pandemic and the rise in COVID-19 cases warranted a difficult decision to limit attendance much like at a State of the Union Address.
“For the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies, invitations to Members of the 117th Congress will be limited to themselves and one guest,” the inaugural committee said in a written statement issued on Wednesday.
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Chair Blunt says b/c of COVID, they've made "a difficult decision to limit attendance at the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies to a live audience that resembles a State of the Union"— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) December 16, 2020
Normally, thousands of guests are seated on the West Lawn of the Capitol, along with hundreds of VIP’s in stands specially built for an Inauguration.
The work to build those temporary stands continued this week, with the Inauguration now five weeks away.
“The election of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris was historic and we know that many Americans would have wanted to attend the Inauguration in-person,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). “At the same time, safety must be our top priority.”
Usually, the festivities would include a lunch for the new President and Vice President with lawmakers inside the Capitol - but it’s not clear that will go forward either.
And there are no plans at this time for any Inaugural Balls or parties.