President-elect Joe Biden will receive a shortened military escort to the White House instead of the traditional inaugural parade that stretches from the U.S. Capitol after his swearing-in on Jan. 20, his inaugural committee said Sunday.
The inaugural festivities will also include a formal review of troops and a made-for-television “Virtual Parade Across America” featuring musical acts, marching bands, poetry, dance troupes and essential workers.
The scaled-down inaugural plans represent another concession to the coronavirus pandemic as Biden’s inaugural planners balance health and safety concerns with the pageantry of the constitutional ceremony.
“There are many grand traditions to the inaugural, and we plan to honor them by highlighting more of our nation’s people than ever before while keeping everyone safe,” Presidential Inaugural Committee CEO Tony Allen said in a statement.
The inaugural planners have urged Biden supporters not to travel to Washington for the ceremony. Tickets to the swearing-in are available only to members of Congress and their guests, and workers are taking down the temporary grandstands for dignitaries to view the traditional parade that extends down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.
Instead, the new commander-in-chief will conduct a socially distant “pass in review” of troops from every branch of the military on the East front of the Capitol. Ceremonial units will then escort Biden from 15th Street NW to White House, which intersects 16th Street.
The virtual parade will be produced by the same team that put together the all-virtual Democratic National Convention in August, which used short videos from across the country in place of the traditional Roll Call of the States to nominate Biden as the Democratic nominee for president.
The announcement of the celebration to come in three weeks was released as Republicans prepare to launch a quixotic yet controversial effort to challenge the election results when Congress meets Wednesday to certify Biden as the winner of the election.