Biden’s inaugural parade to be replaced with short walk to White House

WASHINGTON • US President-elect Joe Biden will receive a shortened military escort to the White House instead of the traditional inaugural parade that stretches from the US Capitol after his swearing-in on Jan 20.

The festivities will also include a formal review of troops and a made-for-television “Virtual Parade Across America” featuring musical acts, marching bands, poetry, dance troupes and essential workers, his inaugural committee said on Sunday.

The scaled-down inaugural plans represent another concession to the coronavirus pandemic as Mr Biden’s inauguration planners balance health and safety concerns with the pageantry of the constitutional ceremony.

“There are many grand traditions to the inaugural, and we plan to honour them by highlighting more of our nation’s people than ever before while keeping everyone safe,” said presidential inaugural committee CEO Tony Allen.

Planners have urged Mr Biden’s supporters not to travel to Washington for the ceremony.

Tickets to the swearing-in are available only to members of Congress and their guests, and workers are taking down the temporary grandstands for dignitaries to view the traditional parade that extends down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

Instead, the new commander-in-chief will conduct a socially distant “pass in review” of troops from every branch of the military on the East front of the Capitol. Ceremonial units will then escort Mr Biden during his walk from 15th Street NW to the White House, which intersects 16th Street.

The virtual parade will be produced by the same team that put together the all-virtual Democratic National Convention in August, which used short videos from across the country in place of the traditional Roll Call of the States to nominate Mr Biden as the Democratic nominee for president.

It remains unclear whether President Donald Trump plans to attend Mr Biden’s inauguration, much less participate in the traditional welcoming of the incoming president to the White House.

BLOOMBERG, NYTIMES