The White House has relaxed its policy for staff regarding the wearing of facial coverings while in the West Wing, recommending them instead of requiring them, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a routine briefing of reporters Wednesday.
The change ends the more than month-long mandate imposed after Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, and a military member who serves as a personal valet to President Donald Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
"Masks are recommended but not required," McEnany said.
Despite the May 11 memo that ordered the masks be worn when staff were away from their desks and a six-foot "social distancing" could not be achieved, enforcement had been lax in recent weeks, according to The Hill.
The White House practice contrasts with executive orders and regulations still in force in many states, which require masks indoors ostensibly to lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus. Enforcement of those regulations varies, too, with many patrons in stores and elsewhere wearing the masks below their nose.
The change in policy will be consistent with Trump's planned political rally planned for Saturday at the 19,000-seat BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an arena that has been home to ice hockey, women's basketball, and indoor football teams.
McEnany said masks will be distributed at the rally, but attendees will be encouraged to wear them, not required.
Trump campaign officials said they had received more than 1 million requests for tickets to the event, which Pence also will attend and will be the president's first since before the coronavirus outbreak.
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