White House announces a vaccine mandate for all visitors and unvaccinated will have to pay to get same-day testing
- Visitors will be required to attest to their vaccine status starting Sunday
- Comes after Biden required federal government employees to do the same
- Those who aren’t vaccinated or who won’t say whether they are will be required to get tested and pay for it
The White House is tightening its restrictions visitors seeking to enter the building amid rising cases nationwide and the proliferation of the highly transmissive Delta variant – guests required say whether they are vaccinated and pay for their own tests starting Sunday.
Reporters, who are overwhelmingly vaccinated, will not be exempt from the new policy.
Under the new policy, visitors are being asked to sign an ‘attestation of vaccination’ prior to entering the building – which includes a large but crowded indoor workspace for members of the working press, as well as outdoor areas on the North Lawn of the White House where TV reporters shoot stand-up shots.
The White House is tightening vaccination policies for guest, and requiring reporters to sign forms attesting to their vaccination status – with visitors paying for coronavirus testing if they do not attest to being vaccinated
Visitors are to indicate whether they are fully vaccinated, are not fully vaccinated, or if they ‘decline to answer.’
Those who aren’t vaccinated or who decline to answer are instructed to complete a test conducted by the White House, wear a mask at all times while on White House grounds, and socially distance. The guests are required to pay for the tests.
Federal employees are being required to make similar attestations to their vaccine status, although the White House has said taxpayers will pick up the tab for unvaccinated people who will require testing.
In June, amid dropping coronavirus cases and surveys showing a vast majority of White House reporters had been vaccinated, the White House lifted daily testing requirements for the press. Unvaccinated members of the press were still required to get tests to enter the grounds, and to pay for the tests.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration continues to mount a ‘wartime response against the virus’
White House visitors, including reporters, must sign a form attesting to their vaccination status
Biden was seated far away from Vice President Kamala Harris at an event with Asian American leaders Thursday
President Joe Biden (L) greets Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) after delivering remarks on electric vehicles on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 05 August 2021
On Thursday, officials recorded 109,824 new cases of the virus with a seven-day rolling average of 98,518. The U.S. is almost at an average of 100,000 per day, which hasn’t been seen since mid-February.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, asked about the new policy as well as other developments, said generally the administration was continuing to mount a ‘wartime response against the virus.’
She said there were ‘early conversations, early discussions about a range of options,’ amid reports the administration was pursuing financial pressures to force vaccination requirements. She called the moves ‘pre-decisional.’
It comes amid a sudden increase in vaccinations in states like Louisiana that have been slammed by the Delta variant amid overall vaccination rates well below the national average.
There have been other observable changes around the White House. At an event Thursday with Asian American leaders, Biden was seated far away from Vie President Kamala Harris at an indoor event. But he chatted up close during out outdoor event on the South Lawn with unmasked lawmakers who had been invited as guests.
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about whether official guests at White House events would be paying for their own tests if they weren’t vaccinated, or whether unvaccinated people would be invited to the White House.