Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House Management Office sent a memo on Monday directing staff to wear face masks or facial coverings while moving throughout the West Wing, ABC News first reported.

Why it matters: The move underscores fears of the coronavirus spreading within the White House, after at least two aides — President Trump's valet and Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller — tested positive last week.

  • Unlike top health officials Anthony Fauci, CDC director Robert Redfield and FDA commissioner Stephan Hahn, Pence and Trump have declined to fully self-isolate after possible exposure to Miller.

The big picture: The move comes as Trump is spearheading a push for states to begin reopening their economies. Requirements for face masks in public spaces have been a point of contention.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all Americans wear masks in public spaces, but not all states have mandated them in their orders lifting coronavirus restrictions.

The state of play: Members of the White House already regularly tested for the coronavirus using Abbott Labs' rapid test. The White House Management Office said in its memo that the new requirement for masks is "an additional layer of protection."

  • Staffers who are sitting at their desk and are socially distanced will be allowed to remove their mask, according to the memo.
  • The office added: "Unless you absolutely need to conduct in-person business in the West Wing, we respectfully ask you to avoid unnecessary visits."
  • Visitors who do not have their own masks will be provided with one from the White House clinic.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 4, 2020 - Health

The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate on Tuesday for people in public, as well as teachers and students going back to school.

The big picture: 34 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, have issued some form of a mask mandate as infections surge across the country.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 19,282,972 — Total deaths: 718,851 — Total recoveries — 11,671,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 4,937,441 — Total deaths: 161,248 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.
Updated Aug 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests negative for coronavirus after positive result

Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) tested negative for the coronavirus after initially testing positive earlier Thursday, his office announced.

Why it matters: 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol.