By Constitutional law, inauguration day is 20 January. As Abigail Bartlett remarked in The West Wing show, it is usually a cold day in the District of Columbia. The 59th Inaugural ceremonies will occur on January 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. The opening remarks are scheduled to begin around 11:30 EST with the completion after the new president takes the oath of office.
Attending in Person
In a usual year, there are tickets available through Congress and Senate members. Each person is typically provided many tickets to give out. In 2021, amongst a pandemic, only 1,000 tickets are available versus the normal 200,000 tickets– meaning that the seat holders of Congress and the Senate are invited with a guest. Some representatives have decided to open online submission feeds to those interested in coming. However, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has made the recommendation to refrain from traveling for the inauguration.
What are the Inaugural Events?
There are several traditional events that typically occur with every inauguration –the procession of the outgoing and incoming President to the ceremony, Vice President’s and President’s Swearing-In Ceremony, the well known Inaugural Address, Honorary Departure of the outgoing President, Signing Ceremony, Inaugural Lunch, Pass In Review. Per a statement released by the Inaugural committee, the “ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined.” A traditional giant parade of inaugurations passed will not be happening. However, construction of a reviewing stand in front of the White House has continued, which may be part of the Pass in Review of events passed. Traditional events like the luncheon for the new president is also not occurring due to the current coronavirus situation.
Where Can You Watch It Virtually?
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Chairman Roy Blunt stated that due to the global pandemic, they are “working on enhanced opportunities to watch the ceremonies online, in addition to the traditional televised national broadcast.” If you have cable television, you can expect most major networks to carry the live broadcast.
For those who have cut the cable ties, it is expected to be available for streaming here:
- On the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies website
- White House YouTube Channel
- White House Live Stream
- Politico Live Stream
- In Spanish on Univision’s You Tube Channel
Even if you don’t have cable, the major news networks of ABC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, and CNN will most likely carry live streaming on their website or YouTube channel.
The pre-event festivities historically begin at 9:30 am EST with the official ceremony occurring neatly at noon EST.