How Biden's address to Congress will look different amid COVID-19 pandemic

There will be limits on the number of senators and representatives in the chamber on Wednesday

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President Biden's first address before a joint session of Congress will look a bit different compared to previous presidents' speeches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike former President Trump's February 2017 address to a joint session of Congress in which members had no specific seating arrangements, there will be limits on the number of senators and representatives in the chamber on Wednesday due to social-distancing requirements, a Capitol official told Fox News.

In line with tradition, however, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will sit on either side of the president during his speech.

President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19, on the North Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, April 27. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19, on the North Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, April 27. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Members of Congress will also be seated in the Gallery and on the House Floor to ensure social distancing, and guests will not be allowed to attend the event. An estimated 200 people are expected to be seated in the chamber for Biden's speech, but a final number has yet to be determined, the Capitol official said.

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Those 200 attendees include 80 representatives and 60 senators. Normally, there are about 1,600 people at presidential addresses like this one. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chief Justice John Roberts are also expected to attend the event. First lady Jill Biden will also be at the speech, but there will not be a "first ladies' box" as has been tradition in the past, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a Tuesday briefing.

"While the speech will, of course, look and feel different from past years, the president will preserve a few traditions, including the walk down the center aisle, that we have seen presidents do for many years," Psaki said.

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Biden, who has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, will wear a mask when he walks down the center aisle but not be required to wear a mask while speaking.

Members of Congress, however, will be required to wear masks on the floor during the event in line with a House rule implemented on Jan. 4, a White House Democratic aide told Fox News. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence notably did not wear a mask while giving a Jan. 6 speech regarding election certification results after rioters broke into the Capitol. 

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The president will meet with individuals who were present during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot ahead of his speech.

The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Wednesday, April 28, 2021, as President Joe Biden prepares to address House and Senate lawmakers on his first 100 days in office. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Capitol is seen in Washington, early Wednesday, April 28, 2021, as President Joe Biden prepares to address House and Senate lawmakers on his first 100 days in office. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Additional security measures will also be put in place. 

The U.S. Secret Service, Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Park Police and other agencies will provide security for what will be a very locked-down Capitol Complex on Wednesday. 

Starting at 7 p.m., sections of a number of streets will be closed off, including Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Constitution Avenue NW. Seventeen total streets will see at least some level of closure Wednesday. 

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People with event credentials and with congressional IDs will be the only people allowed on the Capitol grounds starting at 7 p.m. Vehicles will be subject to similar restrictions. 

While Biden's major policy announcement during the address will be about his $1.8 trillion American Families plan, which she described as a "historic investment in education and childcare," he will also discuss police reform, immigration, gun safety and the pandemic, Psaki said.

Fox News will air the address live at 9 p.m. EST.

Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.