Dec 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Inauguration to be limited to State of the Union-sized audience

Joe Biden leans down a bit and waves
Joe Biden gestures to the crowd at a drive-in rally for Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Dec. 15 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will have limited in-person attendance due to rising coronavirus cases, with a live audience that "resembles a State of the Union" address, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said Wednesday.

Driving the news: The announcement comes days after the U.S. surpassed 300,000 coronavirus deaths amid continual record-breaking hospitalizations — and ahead of the grim winter that Biden will inherit.

Details: Instead of the traditional 200,000 tickets that the committee provides with bundles for members of Congress to distribute to constituents, lawmakers will be permitted to bring themselves and one guest to the official ceremonies.

  • National broadcasts and enhanced online viewing options are also being planned, according to Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
  • Biden's own inauguration committee has urged Americans to stay home for the ceremony.
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