Inauguration Day is also a day in / out of the White House

WASHINGTON (AP) – Moving from house to house is challenging under the best of circumstances, and even as first-rate housekeepers as movers and other employees working in the White House.

But the coronavirus epidemic can be a complicating factor as the executive mansion prepares for a new president and carries out the opening-day ritual of leaving one leader and settling in another.

This is usually an accurate operation: both moves are usually completed in about five hours. The clock will typically start ticking when outgoing and incoming presidents leave the White House with the head of the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony. The process will continue during the ceremony and parade from Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

“They basically have trucks parked outside the gates of the White House,” said White House Historical Association historian Matt Costello. “And as the president and president-elect leave, they wave in moving trucks, and they will pack the things of the outgoing president, and then they will unpack all the things of the new first family.”

Biden’s wife, Jill, said Friday that she and the presidential election had spent the last two months preparing to move from their home in Willington, Delaware, and that they were “packing our cupboards this morning.”

But this year things will be a little different.

President Donald Trump, who is still angry at losing the reunion, is skipping the inauguration. He is also leaving the city before Biden is sworn in, meaning the pair will not go to the Capitol together. When Trump steps out, homeowners and other residence staffers, who help move the president’s belongings, can get a welcome head in packing and unpacking.

Inauguration planners have withdrawn the traditional roster of events this year because of the epidemic, which now accounts for about 400,000 American deaths. A luncheon for the new president at the Capitol has been scrapped, and the hour-long parade from Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House will be virtual.

A combination of events in the past kept the new president and first lady out of the White House, enough for household employees to rotate in their clothes, furnishings and other personal items.

An epidemic can affect the running process in other ways.

Some public health experts have said that it is important that the White House take extra precautions to reduce the spread of airborne illness on a large scale during busy moves.

The White House was the scene of several coronovirus outbreaks that infected dozens of employees and others, including Trump and his wife, Melania. Biden is threatened because of his age. Tested regularly for 78 years of coronovirus and recently received his last dose of vaccine.

Leonie Mara, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech with expertise in transmitting viruses such as coronoviruses, must ensure housekeepers and other employees wear face coverings as they usually exhaust themselves during five to six hours. Wrap this step.

“A lot of people have to go in and out of there,” he said. “I want to make sure that those people are masked by covering their noses and mouths all the time. They are going to end themselves because they are moving things around. “

Marr also suggested that Biddens wait a few hours after the move was completed to go to the residence.

The White House is generally well-cleaned among families, said Anita McBride, who helps move out of the mansion in 2009 as an assistant to President George W. Bush.

“Everything undergoes a massive cleanup,” she said. Beds have been stripped, mattresses have been replaced, carpets have been cleaned or replaced and fresh coats of paint have been applied as needed.

White House chief Ashar, who oversees the housekeeping staff, usually coordinates with someone in the incoming presidential team to learn about their priorities, so the residence can be made to feel as home as possible. , Hanging in cupboards and favorite foods with clothes. in kitchen.

Once the waiting trucks are towed through tight security and into the White House grounds, the staff at the residence breaks into groups to perform specific tasks. Some will only handle Trump’s belongings, while others will be tasked with putting the contents of Biden’s boxes in their designated locations.

Melania Trump’s Chief Usher is reported to have visited the White House living quarters in November 2016, when he visited the White House with Donald Trump for a post-election meeting with then President Barack Obama. President Trump has broken the tradition and has not invited Beidens to a similar meeting.


Associated Press writer Amer Madhani in Chicago contributed to this report.

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