White House cafeteria closed after positive coronavirus test

Staff inside complex told there was 'no reason for panic or alarm'

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 23 July 2020 11:31
Trump blames Sun Belt surge of virus on protesters, young drinkers and Mexico

The White House closed two eating areas after a worker tested positive with the coronavirus, said Trump administration officials.

Two cafeterias located inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) and the New Executive Office Building were both closed this week after the case was discovered, according to reports.

Some staffers were told the closures could last two weeks, reported NBC News, who obtained an internal White House email addressing concerns on Wednesday night.

“There is no reason for panic or alarm,” said the internal White House email. “The White House Medical Unit has already conducted contact tracing and based off of their interviews, they have determined that no EOP staff should self-quarantine due to exposure”.

An official speaking on condition of anonymity to The New York Times did not say whether the person who contracted Covid-19 was a cafeteria worker, or White House official.

The EEOB is positioned opposite the West Wing, which houses senior administration officials and US president Donald Trump, who resumed daily coronavirus briefings on Tuesday.

Whilst the US Navy runs operations inside the West Wing, reported NBC, the infected cafeteria and eatery are run by a government contractor and the General Services Administration, which maintains the building.

“All proper protocols were in place by the vendor including masks, gloves, plastic shielding at check out, and no dine-in service,” said a GSA spokesperson to NBC. “The White House Medical Unit has done contact tracing and determined that the risk of retransmission is low.”

Mr Trump, who has downplayed the threat from Covid-19, admitted this week that the Covid-19 pandemic may “get worse before it gets better”.

More than 140,000 American lives have been lost to the virus, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with 3,882,167 confirmed cases.

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