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White House to require West Wing visitors and staff to wear masks

The new White House rule comes after two staffers last week tested positive for COVID-19.

WASHINGTON — The White House is requiring everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or face covering after coronavirus scares near President Donald Trump.

A memo sent to all staff outlined the new directive Monday after two staffers last week tested positive for COVID-19.

The memo says: “We are requiring everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or facial covering.”

Staff will be allowed to remove their face coverings if they sit at least six feet apart from their colleagues.

The directive is meant to protect the president, who has refrained from wearing a mask in public and in private.

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RELATED: Vice President Pence's press secretary tests positive for coronavirus

A member of the military serving as one of the president's valets tested positive for the coronavirus last week. It marked the first of two coronavirus scares in a matter of days for the president. 

Credit: AP
Vice President Mike Pence, Daniel O'Day, CEO of Gillead Sciences Inc., left, Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Washington.

On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence's spokeswoman, Katie Miller, tested positive. She had been in recent contact with Pence but not with the president. She is married to Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser. The White House had no immediate comment on whether Stephen Miller had been tested or if he was still working out of the White House.

Credit: AP
Katie Waldman Miller, press secretary for Pence, left, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Marc Short, chief of staff to Pence listen as Trump speaks

Katie Miller had tested negative Thursday, a day before her positive result.

RELATED: President Trump valet tests positive for COVID-19; president tests negative