President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee on Sunday announced there would be a virtual parade after the swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day as part of efforts to keep crowds to a minimum amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The televised, virtual parade will feature performances in communities across the country, the committee said in a news release, much like the virtual program at the Democratic National Convention, which was forced to go online over the summer in efforts to keep the virus from spreading.
“The parade will celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions, and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era,” the inaugural committee said in the release. The committee said it would announce participants in the coming weeks.
The inaugural committee has urged Americans not to travel for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ inauguration on January 20. The committee said earlier this month that Biden and Harris would take their oaths of office at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, during a significantly scaled-down ceremony that will feature stringent health and safety protocols.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Biden, Harris, incoming first lady Jill Biden and incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff will participate in a pass in review on the East Front of the US Capitol with members of the military, the committee said on Sunday.
“Pass in Reviews are a long-standing military tradition that reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new Commander-in-Chief, during which the President-elect, hosted by the Commander of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, will review the readiness of military troops. Every branch of the military will be represented in this event,” the committee said. Participants will practice social distancing and there will be “vigorous health and safety protocols in place,” according to the committee.
In another attempt to keep crowds to a minimum, as the death toll in the US continues to climb amid the pandemic, Biden will receive a presidential escort from 15th Street in Washington, DC, to the White House, “providing the American people and world with historic images of the President-elect proceeding to the White House without attracting large crowds and gatherings,” according to the committee.
The committee said every branch of the military will be represented in the presidential escort, “including The U.S. Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard, and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and Fife and Drum Corps from the 3rd U.S. Infantry ‘The Old Guard.'”
Last week, the committee announced it would be hosting a national memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to Covid-19 and invited cities and towns around the country to participate. The memorial will take place at 5:30 p.m. ET on January 19 and will include a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, the committee said.
As coronavirus cases spike across the country, Biden’s inaugural committee has said it was consulting with medical experts and that it has hired professional staff to focus on health and safety protocols in order to hold a safe event. Dr. David Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration who has been advising Biden on the pandemic, has joined the planning committee as its chief medical adviser.
In order to pull off the virtual programming, the committee has brought on Stephanie Cutter and Ricky Kirshner as executive producers, and Rod O’Connor as a senior adviser. They will work with other professionals who also helped produce the Democratic convention, as well as past presidential inaugurations, Super Bowl halftime shows and the Tony Awards.