White House staff check the body temperatures of people entering on March 16, 2020.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
The White House has stopped screening most staffers and visitors for high temperatures and other coronavirus symptoms.
Officials told The New York Times that the return of more staff members as Washington DC eases restrictions sparked the change, as screening more staff would cause long delays.
The new rules don’t apply to those in “close proximity” to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Staffers in close contact with both Trump and Pence have previously tested positive for the virus.
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The White House has ended mandatory temperature checks and screenings for coronavirus symptoms for most visitors and staffers, removing procedures that have been in place since March.
NBC News reported that tents used to check temperatures were being taken down on Monday.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that: “In conjunction with Washington, D.C., entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks,” Deere said.
He said that any staffer or guest “in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature-checked, asked symptom histories and tested for COVID-19,” The New York Times reported.
President Donald Trump at a coronavirus press conference in the White House’s Rose Garden on May 11, 2020.
He said that social distancing, use of hand sanitizer, and “regular deep cleaning of all work spaces” were still in place, alongside “voluntary facial coverings.”
Masks had been mandatory for White House staffers, except when they were seated at their desks.
But Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany last week suggested the policy had been loosened, describing masks as “recommended but not required” for staff.
Journalists in the White House will have to follow the same checks that those coming into close contact with the president do, ABC News reported.
The changes come as the White House takes other steps to open up, including having more staff work in their offices, the Times reported.
Trump officials in masks as the president met with Republican lawmakers on May 8, 2020.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Officials told the Times that the return of these staff members prompted the change, as screening more people would cause delays.
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