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White House scales back COVID-19 temperature checks

The White House on Monday scaled back temperature checks for visitors after loosening face mask restrictions in the West Wing last week. File Photo by Anna Moneymaker/UPI
The White House on Monday scaled back temperature checks for visitors after loosening face mask restrictions in the West Wing last week. File Photo by Anna Moneymaker/UPI | License Photo

June 22 (UPI) -- The White House allowed visitors Monday to enter the complex without a temperature check to control the spread of COVID-19 for the first time since mid-March.

The tent at the north gate entrance where White House medical staff had been taking temperatures during the coronavirus pandemic was removed Monday, according to pool reports.

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"In conjunction with Washington, D.C., entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks," Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. "In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19."

The move shows a continued loosening of measures to control COVID-19 around the White House.

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Last week, Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany said that face masks, though recommended, would no longer be required to be worn through the West Wing.

The White House had directed staffers to wear masks while moving through the West Wing in May after Vice President Mike Pence's Press Secretary Katie Miller and one of President Donald Trump's personal valets tested COVID-19 positive.

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Also, last week, a Health Affairs study found that states that mandated use of face masks in public had a greater decline in COVID-19 growth rates than ones that did not issue such mandates.

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Trump has said he does not want to be seen wearing a mask on camera and polls show partisan divides in mask wearing. A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll recently found that Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to use face masks all or most of the time they are in public places indoors.

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