White House employees asked to wear masks in West Wing

White House officials working in West Wing asked to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Elad Benari ,

White House
White House

White House officials working in the West Wing are being asked to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to a memo distributed to staffers on Monday and quoted by The Hill.

Officials in the building are being asked to wear face coverings when they're not at their desks or able to maintain social distancing from others, a White House official confirmed to the website.

The memo, which was obtained by The Hill, also urges staffers to "avoid unnecessary visits" to the White House.

"We continue to encourage all [executive office of the president] staff to use a facial covering whenever social distancing is not possible," the memo states.

The change in protocol comes days after two White House staffers tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Thursday, the White House disclosed that a US military official working as President Donald Trump’s valet had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A day later, it was reported that Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, also contracted the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance last month encouraging Americans to wear masks when social distancing was not possible, noting that it can cut down on the risk of those carrying the virus transmitting it to others.

The White House has implemented a number of measures in recent days to try and insulate officials from the virus, which health experts warn is highly contagious. The building is being deep-cleaned more frequently, and Trump, Pence and officials who meet with them regularly are being tested daily for the virus instead of weekly.

On Sunday, Bloomberg News reported that that Pence is self-isolating away from the White House due to Miller testing positive for the virus.

The Vice President’s office later denied the report and said Pence "will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine."