Oct 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

White House has no plans to mandate masks

Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters Friday morning. He is not wearing a mask

Meadows speaks to reporters on Friday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration has no plans to mandate that staff and visitors wear face masks on the grounds of the White House, even after President Trump, the First Lady and senior adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, officials said Friday.

Why it matters: Trump and his aides have been heavily criticized for refusing to wear masks and social distance, both publicly at large-scale events and in private. Many officials in Trump’s orbit have mocked others for adhering to these guidelines.

What they're saying: "Our standard protocol is CDC best practices and recommendations," a White House official told Axios. "Facial coverings are recommended but not required.  There's hand sanitizing stations located throughout the complex, frequent washing of hands and good hygiene is strongly recommended and social distancing is encouraged. So, I don't foresee those things changing."

  • People who are in close proximity to the president are tested regularly, the official said, in addition to randomized testing for others across the complex.

Of note: White House chief of staff Mark Meadows went mask-less when he addressed reporters on Friday morning, despite having traveled with the president and Hicks earlier this week.

  • Meadows said he received a negative COVID test on Friday.

For the record: "The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously," said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

  • "White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling."
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