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White House directs officials to wear face masks in West Wing

White House adviser Jared Kushner wears a face mask as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden. Most White House personnel will be required to wear face masks in the West Wing of the White House under new guidelines. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
White House adviser Jared Kushner wears a face mask as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden. Most White House personnel will be required to wear face masks in the West Wing of the White House under new guidelines. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- The White House mandated on Monday that staffers wear masks while moving about the West Wing, officials said.

The mandate directs staffers to wear masks while not sitting at their desks and avoid visits to the White House unless necessary.

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During a press briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump and Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health, addressed media from separate podiums but did not wear masks.

Trump pointed out that other White House staffers in attendance were wearing masks adding that staffers wear masks when within a certain distance of him and each other.

He indicated, however, he would not wear a mask, saying he is "not close to anybody."

A copy of the memo announcing the mandate obtained by The Wall Street Journal cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encouraging the use of facial coverings but made no mention of whether Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will be required to abide by the guidelines.

The mandate comes after Pence's, press secretary Katie Miller, as well as one of Trump's personal valets recently tested positive for COVID-19.

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On Sunday, Pence said he stayed away from the White House for the weekend, while Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they would be working from home.

Food And Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn announced he had already gone into quarantine on Friday.

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