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."

Go deeper

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

18 hours ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.