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Politics & Government

Ed Gainey's mayoral inauguration to be online-only

Election 2021-Mayor Pittsburgh Ed Gainey
In this file photo from Oct. 13, 2021, Ed Gainey, Democratic candidate for Pittsburgh mayor, addresses people gathered for Josh Shapiro's campaign launch for Pennsylvania governor, in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh mayor-to-be Ed Gainey’s swearing-in ceremony next week will be conducted virtually, a concession to the tenacious coronavirus which already has cast a shadow over local governance for nearly two years.

Gainey’s team announced Tuesday that the Jan.3 event and a prayer service the day before will be viewable by the public online “in accordance with guidance from public health officials.”

The move was not a total surprise: Gainey himself disclosed an exposure to COVID-19 last week. Although a subsequent PCR test confirmed it was a false alarm, concern about the virus prompted Gainey to move a previously scheduled press event — the unveiling of his transition team — to Zoom. At the time, Gainey suggested that with the threat of the omicron variant looming, his team already had been planning to shift events online. His own potential exposure was a reminder of “why we need to protect one another," he said.

Gainey’s inauguration will be carried out at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 3, and broadcast on the city’s cable channel as well as its social media accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

An “Interfaith Prayer for Pittsburgh’s Future” will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, and — as a non-official event — be streamed on Gainey’s own Facebook and Twitter accounts.