Biden’s inauguration will mark the official start of his four-year term, and due to COVID and security concerns, will go ahead without much of the pomp and fanfare.

In pictures: The inauguration of Joe Biden
Updated January 20, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office on Wednesday, but it will be a scaled-down inauguration unlike any we’ve ever seen.

The celebrations have been cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Biden’s inaugural committee — trying to keep crowds to a minimum — has urged Americans not to travel to Washington, DC. The National Mall will also be closed to the general public because of security concerns related to the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.

Usually, thousands of people gather on the Mall to watch the new president being sworn in. This year, there are thousands of National Guard troops stationed in the nation’s capital.

This will also be the first time in 150 years that the outgoing president will boycott his successor’s inauguration. President Donald Trump, still bitter about the election, is skipping the ceremony and many of the time-honored traditions that come with the peaceful transfer of power.

Biden will take the oath of office on the West Front of the US Capitol, but there will be no public parade from the Capitol to the White House. The celebrations will be mostly virtual, and the inaugural balls will be replaced by a prime-time television special.

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