DC economy expected to take a hit as inaugural committee encourages public to stay home on Jan. 20

Stay home, and stay safe: that's the message from President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural committee, which is making it clear that they don't want large crowds to gather in the District on Jan. 20.

However, that decision also means D.C. could take a big hit to its economy on top of what it has already suffered.

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Every four years, hotels in the District can count on being packed around the third week in January as political supporters and partiers come to the nation's capital to celebrate an inauguration. Usually, every room in the area is filled.

In 2017, average rates were above $700 per night. This year, Elliott Ferguson, CEO of Destination DC, the District's travel office, says they saw an increase in bookings right after the election, but that has begun to head in the opposite direction.

"The reality is we still have hotels that have not reopened since the beginning of the pandemic," says Ferguson. "Most of the larger hotels in the city still remain shuttered mainly because of the fact that they cant have large groups meeting together so you look at that variable it’s not profitable for them to open." 

Attendance at this year's inauguration will be drastically reduced due to COVID-19 precautions. According to a letter obtained by FOX 5, just over 1,000 tickets will be given out to members of Congress and their constituents instead of the usual 200,000.

READ MORE: Biden’s team urges Americans to stay home on Inauguration Day and watch ceremony online

Virginia Congressman Don Beyer says it's all part of trying to make the event as socially distant as possible.

"I think it’s really important that they do this," Beyer says. "We have a lot of good news on the horizon -- the Pfizer vaccine is approved, Moderna is getting approved, more are coming, people are being vaccinated right now, but the most reliable projections say we could still lose 200,000 more Americans between now and April 1." 

The co-chair of the Biden inaugural committee says she expects the inauguration to resemble the virtual democratic convention last summer with the traditional swearing-in at the Capitol, but all other elements remaining virtual.