HONOLULU (KHON2) — An obvious difference from years past will be the lack of attendees at the presidential inauguration on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The event will be closed off to the general public and law enforcement officers have set a perimeter blocks away from Capitol Hill.

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The sea of people on the National Mall will be missing this year over safety concerns.
U.S. Congressman Ed Case took the red-eye to represent Hawaii at the inauguration.

“As you get close to the Capitol, you see the fences with concertina wire on top,” Case said. “And you know, you feel like you’re in many ways in a third-world security zone. It’s very, very troubling.”  

Sen. Mazie Hirono will be attending the swearing-in of Joe Biden without a guest.

“The people who are in the stands were Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in, that will look very different,” Hirono said. “And of course, the hundreds of thousands of people who travel to Washington DC for the inauguration, and the hundreds of thousands of people who are in the will not be there.”  

Security is heightened at the national level as a result of violence from pro-Trump supporters who stormed congress two-weeks ago.

Hawaii’s State Capitol building set-up barriers at its entrances days leading up to Wednesday, Jan. 20, and Hawaii National Guard soldiers were deployed to the U.S. Capitol to support a peaceful transfer of power.

Hirono said, “I’m glad that the security fences and 25,000 national guards, including 200 from Hawaii, are there to make sure that nothing like the kind of riots that occurred will happen.”  

The invisible threat of COVID also makes this inauguration unprecedented. Those who were invited are taking the necessary precautions.

Case said, “Every single person who is going personally to this inauguration, had to take a COVID-19 test in the last in the 48 hours immediately preceding the inauguration.”