Staffers In West Wing Ordered To Wear Masks Unless Sitting At Their Desks

( After declining to do so in the past, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and all West Wing staffers will now be required to wear masks unless they are sitting at their desks.
This new directive comes as one person close to Trump — a valet who served him food — and one close to Pence — his press secretary, Katie Miller — tested positive for coronavirus in recent days. Despite this, neither Trump nor Pence have decided to self-quarantine, as of yet.
Some other people who came into contact with those two people decided to take a more cautious approach. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for example, in in a “modified quarantine.” He will restrict his movements considerably and work alone as much as possible at the NIH.
Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, has put himself on an even stricter quarantine.
On Tuesday, both will testify remotely for a Senate hearing regarding returning to school and work safely. As Lamar Alexander, the Senate Health Committee chairman, said in a statement Sunday:
“After consulting with Dr. Fauci, and in an abundance of caution for our witnesses, senators and the staff, all four Administration witnesses will appear by videoconference due to these unusual circumstances.”
In the past, White House officials have said the recommendations given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t necessarily apply to some administration officials, including Trump and Pence, because they are tested on a regular basis for coronavirus. Those who come in contact with them, on the other hand, aren’t tested nearly as often.
The CDC has recommended that people should stay home for 14 days since their last exposure to someone who has been confirmed as having COVID-19. This goes even for people who have come in close contact with others with confirmed cases but who feel healthy.
The CDC has also recommended that Americans should wear masks anytime they go into public.
Trump has declined to wear a mask in the past and has even said publicly that he was hesitant to do so. He has stressed in the past that the CDC recommendations are guidance, not a requirement, except in some localities and states.
Last week, he made a trip to the Arizona facility of Honeywell where N95 masks are produced, and he wore a mask there for “not too long,” he said.
On the day the CDC issued its recommendations about wearing masks, Trump said he’d be uncomfortable wearing one. He said:
“Somehow sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk,” meeting with “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don’t know. Somehow I don’t see it for myself.”
The next day, though, First Lady Melania Trump tweeted a photo of herself wearing a mask with the message:
“As the CDC continues to study the spread of the COVID-19, they recommend that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain. Remember, this does not replace the importance of social distancing. It is recommended to keep us all safe.”