The inauguration ceremony of US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to be held on January 20 will be a low-key event restricted to the general public. the organizers urged people to witness the historic event from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), responsible for the planning and smooth execution of the inaugural ceremonies of the president-elect and vice president-elect of the US at the Capitol said that invitations will be limited to the members of the 117th Congress themselves and one additional guest.

The Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) urged the public to refrain from any travel and participate in the inaugural activities from home.

“Our goal is to create an inauguration that keeps people safe, honours the grand traditions of the Presidency, and showcases the Biden-Harris Administration’s renewed American vision for an inclusive, equitable, and unified citizenry,” said PIC CEO Tony Allen.

Originally, the JCCIC would distribute 200,000 tickets for the official ceremonies at the Capitol and provide ticket bundles to members of Congress to distribute to constituents.

On January 20, President-elect Biden, 78, and Vice-President-elect Harris, 56, will take their oaths of office at the US Capitol during a historic ceremony that includes extreme health and safety protocols in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The inaugural address to be delivered by President-elect Joe Biden will lay out his vision to beat the virus, build back better, and bring the country together.

“The JCCIC, in consultation with diversified public health and medical experts and the Presidential Inaugural Committee has determined that this global pandemic and the rise in COVID-19 cases warranted a difficult decision to limit attendance at the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies to a live audience that resembles a State of the Union,” said JCCIC Chairman Roy Blunt.

“We are also working on enhanced opportunities to watch the ceremonies online, in addition to the traditional televised national broadcast,” he said.

“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. At the same time, safety must be our top priority,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar.

“While the pandemic has forced us to limit in-person attendance, it also brings opportunities to honour our democracy in innovative ways so that Americans across the country can experience Inauguration Day from home,” she said.

The electoral college, which met in respective State Capitols, on Monday had declared Biden as the winner of the November 3 elections. Ironically, current US President Donald Trump has refused to concede the elections, even after asking his administration to cooperate on transition.

 The ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined as per the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC). 

“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 honouring inaugural traditions and engaging Americans across the country,” said PIC executive director Maju Varghese.

“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 Indian-American official said.

A special team consisting of production experts has also been hired to initiate a new and innovative program which will be responsible for providing opportunities for all Americans to participate safely in the inauguration without the risk of contracting the virus. 

“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,” said PIC Chief Medical Advisor Dr David Kessler.

The United States has reported an average of more than 215,000 new infections a day in the past few weeks making it the worst-hit country from the pandemic. 

As per reports published by Johns Hopkins University, more than 303,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the last 10 months while the country has reported 16,964,173 cases.