2021 has been billed as a fresh start and nothing epitomizes that more than the inauguration of a new president. Joe Biden has become the 46th President of the United States and, like many of his predecessors, he will look to get to work immediately. Lawmaking is a traditionally slow process and the Presidential Executive Order has been used since George Washington to affect less sweeping changes that can be enacted in a timelier manner. President Biden and Vice President Harris have outlined a number of executive orders and policy changes that will be signed during the first 100 days.

The first and potentially most pressing matter facing the new administration will be the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They will take over vaccine rollout that began last year and look to ramp it up in the coming months with the use of the Defense Production Act. President Biden plans to spur this rollout forward by opening up eligibility to the vaccine and by creating dedicated vaccination sites. The vaccine is reaching more people every day; however President Biden is putting a strong emphasis on mask wearing. He will be applying a mask mandate for all federal lands and he has asked the American people to all wear masks for at least his first 100 days. While the request is not a mandate, it could provide reinforcement to businesses that have struggled to convince consumers to wear masks and social distance. The president is also planning a new stimulus package that could see as much as $1,400 deposited to every American. The new stimulus package could also bring aid to struggling businesses and liability protection for companies which could be a game changer for those facing litigation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stimulus will likely take some time to be approved and the President is planning more immediate action for financial relief. He will extend the interest rate pause on student loans that was started by the previous administration and he will be extending the eviction and foreclosure moratorium from last year. The new administration will be restructuring the federal government’s response to COVID-19 with a coordinator that will report directly to the President. The U.S. will also look to rejoin the WHO as an active participant after the relationship soured in the previous administration. The COVID-19 pandemic caused massive disruption to supply chains and significantly raised the cost on imported goods. President Biden’s foreign policy could soothe some of this volatility and provide relief to American markets.

The President is also planning on taking several steps beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden is hoping to increase efforts against climate change by rejoining the Paris Climate agreement. He is also planning to revoke many of the land development permits granted by the previous administration and effectively end the Keystone XL pipeline. The president will also be reviewing fuel emission standards and could look to increase the number of electric vehicles in the federal fleet. A $15 federal minimum wage has been championed by the President; likely requiring congressional action to enact. The increase would affect each industry individually, although it is likely that the restaurant industry could face the most challenges with the change. Some industries have already started to plan for the changes by implementing automation and shifting employee responsibilities. The new administration’s immigration policy will be important to watch for businesses that employ foreign workers. The pandemic has caused difficulties in international travel which will eventually return to normal.

President Biden based a large part of his campaign on ending racial inequality and he will bring that into his administration. He is planning a review of federal funds to determine how they are being distributed to communities. He will also add federal protections for workers who face discrimination. Biden will likely announce more measures as his administration gets underway.

It is impossible to predict all of the changes that a new administration will bring, but all eyes will be on the new president as America awaits relief from COVID-19. Many of President Biden’s initial executive orders will undo those instituted by the previous administration, but that is on par with what his predecessors have done. Executive orders often have a limited scope, however they can create the blueprint for laws that will be passed later in the administration. President Biden’s inauguration message was one of unity and he will look to guide America through uncharted territory with the COVID-19 pandemic.