The Surgeon General said Monday that even the White House should follow CDC guidelines when it comes to holiday parties as the Trump administration plans to go forward with festive gatherings in the next few weeks.
‘We want everyone to understand that these holiday celebrations can be super spreader events, so we want them to be smart and we want them to be as small as possible,’ Dr. Jerome Adams said on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’
And that applies to the White House, where first lady Melania Trump will receive the official Christmas tree on Monday, the annual turkey pardoning is Tuesday and preparations are underway for the annual Hanukkah and Christmas receptions next month.
‘Go to CDC.gov. Look at those tips for everyone. These apply to the White House, they apply to the American people, they apply to everyone. We want you to stay safe, so we can get to a vaccine,’ Adams said.
The parties this year will be smaller than they were in the past, a spokesperson for the first lady said.
‘The People’s House will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah while providing the safest environment possible. This includes smaller guest lists, masks will be required and available, social distancing encouraged while on the White House grounds, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the State Floor,’ said Stephanie Grisham, the chief of staff for Melania Trump.
‘Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines. Attending the parties will be a very personal choice. It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations,’ she added.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said even the White House should obey guidelines for scaled-back holiday events this year
The White House Hanukkah reception is scheduled at 3 pm on December 9 and the congressional Christmas party is slated for December 10.
Both events typically see hundreds of people from across the country gather in the ground floor state rooms at the White House.
And they are just two of the many receptions held in the holiday season. It’s not unusual for there to be an event every night the first few weeks of December as the first couple welcomes staff, supporters, party members and donors into the executive mansion to see the decorations and toast the season.
The first lady is expected to unveil the holiday decorations in the next few weeks.
Medical experts are warning against large holiday gatherings this year, asking people not to travel and to see their loved ones virtually.
Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised: ‘Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.’
‘Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving,’ the guidelines advise.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are planning to hold several holiday parties at the White House this year – the first couple is seen above in their official Christmas portrait from last year
The gatherings – such as the 2017 Hanukkah reception in the East Room – typically draw hundreds of people
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the United States as the cold weather sets in: more than 12.3 million people have been infected and there have been more than 257,000 deaths.
There are at least two ‘super spreader events’ tied to the White House: the first one was the September 26th Rose Garden ceremony where President Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett was his Supreme Court nominee and the second was the president’s election night event in the East Room, after which several staff and a few guests tested positive for COVID.
The president and first lady have both had COVID – as has their son Barron. Trump’s eldest son Don Jr. tested positive last week.
Several prominent staff members have also tested positive for COVID including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, adviser Hope Hicks, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and more than 100 members of the Secret Service.