Jan. 4 (UPI) — The inaugural committee for President-elect Joe Biden has announced that inauguration celebrations will include a virtual parade instead of the traditional march in the Capitol due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement on Facebook, the Biden Inaugural Committee said Sunday that the event on Jan. 20 will include a Pass in Review on the east front of the Capitol, a Presidential Escort to the White House and the “Virtual Parade Across America” that will be televised live and feature “diverse, dynamic performances in communities across the country.”
“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 statement said.
Participates will be chosen in the coming weeks to participate in the parade the committee said would continue to honor longstanding inaugural traditions while providing viewers with the image of the president, vice president and their families making their way to the White House for the first time.
Tony Allen, the inaugural committee’s chief executive officer, described the virtual parade as an “exciting opportunity” to showcase the new administration’s commitment to unifying the nation, USA Today reported.
“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,” he said.
The committee said that following the swearing-in ceremony on the west front of the Capitol, Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will participate in the Pass in Review on the east front.
“Pass in Reviews are a longstanding military tradition that reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new commander-in-chief, during which the president-elect will review the readiness of military troops,” the committee said, adding that participants “will be socially distanced” and health and safety protocols will be in place.
There will also be a Presidential Escort from 15th St. to the White House with each branch of the military represented in the event “without attracting large crowds and gatherings,” the committee said.
The announcement came as the United States continues to register tens of thousands of new coronavirus cases a day. According to a live tracker of the virus by Johns Hopkins University, nearly 210,500 people were confirmed infected with the virus in the past 24 hours.
The United States with more than 20 million cases and 350,000 deaths is by far the sickest country in the world to the pandemic.
Last week, Biden’s inaugural committee announced that it would be holding a memorial a day before the inauguration to “honor the lives lost to COVID-19 and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.”
On Jan. 19, the memorial will consist of the first-ever lighting of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in the Capitol, the committee said, encouraging Americans to illuminate buildings and ring church bells in remembrance on that day.