President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris 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.
EXPLAINER: What is the inauguration?
The inauguration is the formal ceremony that marks the start of a new presidency, and it takes place in Washington DC.
The only required feature is that the president-elect recite the presidential oath of office.
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Once he utters these words, Mr Biden will then take his place as the 46th president and the inauguration will be complete (but that’s not all – celebrations follow).
Kamala Harris will become vice-president once she takes the oath of office, which usually happens just before the president.