The White House is still going to hold indoor parties this holiday season, with first lady Melania Trump's spokeswoman saying attending the celebrations "will be a very personal choice."
The number of coronavirus cases is surging across the United States, with the highest-ever number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but invitations still went out for a Nov. 30 event hosted by the first lady, ABC News reports. The White House has held events linked to coronavirus outbreaks before, including a ceremony in September to introduce President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, told NBC News in a statement that the holiday celebrations will be held in the "safest environment possible," with masks "required and available" and plenty of hand sanitizer. The guest lists will be smaller, she continued, and attendees will be served "food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations," with all passed beverages covered.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
"Attending the parties will be a very personal choice," Grisham said. "It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations."
If he receives an invitation, Surgeon General Jerome Adams is probably going to RSVP "no," seeing as how earlier Monday he said it was important for people to "understand that these holiday parties can be superspreader events." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends holding any celebration outside with just a handful of people, and Adams said these guidelines "apply to the White House, they apply to the American people, they apply to everyone."
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.