According to a Fox News report, the longstanding tradition of shaking hands before a presidential debate has been cancelled for the 2020 election cycle due to coronavirus concerns.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) revealed that President Trump and Democrat nominee Joe Biden will not shake hands prior to facing off in their first debate scheduled for Tuesday evening.
“Upon entering the stage, President Trump will be standing at a podium on the right side of the stage looking out at the audience, and former Vice President Biden will be standing at a podium to the left side of the stage looking out at the audience,” Peter Eyre, a senior CPD adviser, told reporters.
Biden and Trump will stand while host and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News will be seated at a desk. There will be a small number of guests present at the debate, and Eyre stressed that all attendees will “be subject to a variety of health safety protocols, including COVID testing.”
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said in April regarding COVID-19 that “in a perfect world,” no one would ever shake hands again. “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again” in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Other notable differences beyond the cancellation of the traditional handshake include skipping opening statements from the candidates in favor of jumping straight into the debate topics.
The debate will start at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday and is being hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.