Washington, Dec 17 : A US congressional committee overseeing preparations for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20 at the Capitol said that it would significantly limit the number of guests allowed to attend, citing concerns over the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) said that invitations would be limited to each member of Congress and one guest, meaning that 1,070 invitations will be given to members of Congress, reports Xinhua news agency.
“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,” Senator Roy Blunt, the committee’s chair, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“We are also working on enhanced opportunities to watch the ceremonies online, in addition to the traditional televised national broadcast,” Blunt added.
In the past, the panel would have distributed 200,000 tickets for the ceremony and given Congress lawmakers ticket bundles for constituents, The Hill news website said in a report.
On Tuesday, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is planning the inauguration alongside the JCCIC, urged Americans to watch the inaugural activities from their homes instead of travelling to the event.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Biden will deliver an inaugural address that “lays out his vision to beat the virus, build back better, and bring the country together”.
Meanwhile, Inaugural Day merchandise – tees, mugs, socks, masks, coasters and blankets – have gone on sale on the official site.