Masks No Longer Required in White House West Wing, McEnany Says

June 17, 2020 Updated: June 17, 2020

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced Wednesday that masks will not be required in the White House’s West Wing.

In May, the Trump administration released a memo requiring staffers to wear protective masks to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus, when social distancing isn’t possible.

“As an additional layer of protection, we are requiring everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or facial covering,” the May 11 memo said.

McEnany confirmed to reporters that the policy has changed.

“Masks are recommended but not required,” she said on Wednesday when she was asked about the protocol.

It came after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House virus task force, said that masks aren’t 100 percent effective against the spread of the virus, but he said they do provide some protection.

Anthony Fauci and Trump
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks alongside President Donald Trump at a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in Washington, on April 5, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

“If you happen to be a person who may feel well, but has an asymptomatic infection that you don’t even know about, to prevent you from infecting someone else,” said Fauci to The Street. “But also, it can protect you a certain degree, not a hundred percent, in protecting you from getting infected from someone who, either is breathing, or coughing, or sneezing, or singing or whatever it is in which the droplets or the aerosols go out. So masks work.”

He then was asked about why Americans were not told to wear protective masks during the onset of the pandemic.

“Well, the reason for that is that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply,” he said. “And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected.”

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is planning to hand out masks to attendees during the president’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday. Rallygoers will be encouraged to wear the masks but won’t be required to do so, McEnany said.