Congressional inaugural committee announces attendance will be limited for Biden's inauguration
Posted December 16, 2020 12:59 p.m. EST
CNN — The congressional committee tasked with overseeing the presidential inauguration announced Wednesday planned limitations on the number of guests in attendance for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next month.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said in a statement that the ceremony's attendee size will resemble that of a typical State of the Union address. Instead of distributing 200,000 tickets for the swearing-in ceremony on January 20, members of the incoming Congress will only be given tickets for themselves and one guest.
The committee's decision was made "in consultation with diversified public health and medical experts and the Presidential Inaugural Committee," its chairman, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, said in the statement.
"We are also working on enhanced opportunities to watch the ceremonies online, in addition to the traditional televised national broadcast," he said. The statement also said that "commemorative ticket bundles and program packets will be made available to Member offices for constituents following the ceremonies."
Government and public and health officials have urged Americans to avoid large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the committee's decision to limit the event's crowd size reflects Biden's own careful approach to the virus, which is ravaging the country and will likely continue to worsen next month.
On Tuesday, the Presidential Inaugural Committee urged Americans to refrain from traveling for the inauguration, saying the ceremony's footprint will be "extremely limited," and the parade on Inauguration Day will be "reimagined."
The expectation is the ceremony's attendees will have to wear masks and maintain social distance within the ticketed parameters. There is also ongoing discussion about requiring Covid-19 tests for anyone who will stand on the main platform near the President-elect, who is 78.
The US set a new record of Covid-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, with more than 112,800 patients hospitalized. And on Monday, the US surpassed 300,000 deaths from the virus.